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Leave Policy in Canada

Leave Policy in Canada
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Canada is the best place to find talent and build an international workforce, according to recent rankings by US News. The employment law this country observes is largely employee-centric as the government seeks ways to make employment rewarding.

In addition to a decent minimum wage and various other employee benefits, employees also enjoy leave entitlements. This also benefits foreign employers as it encourages employee retention and an influx of foreign workers.

Understanding the leave policy in Canada is crucial to complying with legal legislation. Although compliance may be challenging, partnering with a global employer of record like Skuad can help. Skuad makes life easier for foreign employers wanting to hire in Canada. Besides helping you create an inclusive leave plan for your team, we can also help you onboard and manage your employees.

Here’s all you need to know about the leave policy in Canada.

Public Holidays

There are 13 public holidays in Canada. Public holidays in this country affect the payment of wages. It also affects activities such as filing documents, filling out forms, or submitting official documents.

For example, if a company’s usual payday falls on a public holiday or weekend, they may send payments the working day before or after the holiday. When this happens, it means that the payments arrived on time.

Canada has various provinces with unique public holidays. Some dates may be different, affecting your hiring endeavors. Thus, you may need to check with the local authority to be sure. Here are the general public holidays for employees in this country:

Date Holiday Name
January 1 New Year's Day
April 15 Good Friday
April 18 Easter Monday
May 23 Victoria Day
June 24 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day
July 1 Canada Day
August 1 Civic Holiday
September 5 Labor Day
September 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
October 10 Thanksgiving Day
November 11 Day of Remembrance
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day

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Maternity Leave

Pregnant employees can take up to 17 weeks of maternity leave at various periods during their pregnancy. Employees must provide a medical report of their pregnancy and health status before getting maternity leave in Canada. Workers must tender this request four weeks before the maternity leave commences.

If the employee does not give birth during the 17 weeks of leave, the employer extends the leave until delivery. The labor code does not make payment mandatory during maternity leave.

Paternity and Parental Leave

Although there are no statutory rules for paternity leave in Canada, male employees can access parental leave. Parental leave in Canada lasts up to 63 weeks. This is an unpaid leave for biological and adoptive parents.

Working parents can share this leave. When they do, the parental leave increases to 71 weeks. Like maternity leave, employees must notify their employers at least four weeks beforehand.

Employees can combine maternity and parental leave. An employee on maternity leave who gives birth can also take parental leave simultaneously. However, they must do this in one continuous period.

Leave for the Disappearance or Death of a Child

Employees are entitled to leave upon the disappearance or death of their child younger than age 25. Employees can only take this leave if they:

  • Are the parents
  • Have legal custody of the child
  • Exercise parental authority over the child (applicable in Quebec)
  • Are the guardian
  • Are the child’s curator or tutor (applicable in Quebec)

Eligible employees can take up to 104 weeks of leave if the child is missing or dead. The leave commences on the day of the incident. To get this leave, employees may need to prove that their child died or is missing. This may require a death certificate or police report.

Sick Leave

Sick leave in Canada is commonly referred to as medical leave or leave for work-related illness or injury. Medical leave may be paid or unpaid. Employees are eligible for medical leave in Canada if they:

  • Have an illness or injury
  • Are making an organ or tissue donation (or getting a transplant)
  • Will be having medical consultations
  • Are in quarantine

Medical leave lasts 10 days per year, depending on the employee’s health conditions. Employers can reassign those who are unable to continue in their previous positions upon returning to work.

Employees are eligible for medical leave with pay if their employer schedules them to work. Workers can still get paid while on medical leave if the employer expects them to be available for work. Thus, an employee cannot receive payment on days the employer does not schedule them for work.

Getting medical leave benefits also depends on how long the employee has been working for the company. An employee must have completed the 30-day trial period of continuous work to earn three days of medical leave. Subsequently, the employee earns one extra day of medical leave for every month of continuous employment.

Employees can carry up to 10 unused medical leave days forward into the coming year.

Employers may request a medical certificate as proof of the worker’s health status five days into the medical leave. This allows them to make arrangements for leave benefits.

Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 can take other types of leave such as;

  • 5-day personal leave
  • 17 weeks of unpaid medical leave
  • Additional 16 weeks of unpaid medical leave if in quarantine
  • Compassionate leave of up to 28 days
  • Leave due to critical illness up to 37 weeks

Personal Leave

Personal leave in Canada can be paid or unpaid, depending on certain conditions. Workers in this country get a personal leave of five days in a calendar year. Employees can take personal leave separately or at once. They must make sure that each period is at least one day long.

An employee may also need to give reasons for wanting to take this leave. Although employees are entitled to personal leave, they may require documents to support their reasons for the leave.

Employees are entitled to this leave for any of these reasons:

  • Attending their citizenship ceremony
  • Caring for a sick, injured, or elderly family member
  • Attending to an urgent family matter
  • Assuming responsibility over the education of a close relative
  • Managing other personal matters

To be eligible for paid personal leave, employees must have worked for a company for at least three months. Employees continue earning their salary for the first three days of the leave. This implies that the remaining two days are without pay.

Domestic Violence Leave

Victims of family violence or domestic abuse are entitled to domestic violence leave once they report their situation. This leave is for two categories of people; victims of domestic violence and individuals whose children suffered domestic violence. Family violence leave in Canada is 10 days with pay.

Employees must notify their employer of their willingness to take domestic violence leave in an official document. They may also need to provide supporting documents before or within 15 days of returning to work. Although employees can take this leave in different periods, they must take at least one full day on each occasion.

This leave enables individuals to have time for any of the following crucial activities:

  • Relocating temporarily or permanently
  • Getting medical help for the victim, especially in the case of physical abuse
  • Getting counseling
  • Securing professional assistance from organizations supporting victims of domestic violence
  • Seeking legal intervention or preparing for legal proceedings

Employees will be denied this leave if they committed the act or made false accusations.

Jury Duty Leave

The labor code of Canada encourages workers to perform their civic duties. Employers must provide their workers leave to perform court or jury duties when necessary. Since these activities may only last one day, employers must grant workers the necessary time they need.

Employees must officially inform their employers of their decision to take this leave beforehand. Additional documents corroborating their claims may be necessary when requesting jury duty leave.

Traditional Aboriginal Practices Leave

This leave is for Aboriginal groups including the Métis, Inuit, or Indian natives. Traditional Aboriginal leave enables individuals from these ethnicities to find time to engage in traditional activities. These activities may include fishing, harvesting, farming, or hunting wildlife.

An Aboriginal employee must have worked for their current organization for at least three months to take this leave. The Aboriginal leave for traditional practices lasts five days per year. However, this is not a paid leave.  

Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to bereavement leave in Canada if a close relative dies. Bereavement leave in Canada is 10 days and aims to help employees mourn their loss. Employees can also use this period to make burial arrangements. Employees can also take bereavement leave if they are already on compassionate care leave and the person they are caring for dies.

Bereavement leave may commence on the day the relative dies. Before taking this leave, employees must make an official request in writing. Upon receiving this request, the employer may decide to extend the leave days.

Employees can still receive their salaries while on bereavement leave for only the first three days. The employer may stop covering the worker’s full salary after the third day. Only individuals who have been working for a company for at least three months are eligible for this leave.

Easily Navigate Leave Policy in Canada with Skuad

Leave policy in Canada can be tricky if you are a foreign employer. To comply with the labor code, you may need localized expertise like Skuad. Here at Skuad, we help businesses overseas design leave policies in line with local legislation to ensure full compliance. Make Skuad your partner today and see your international hiring goals come to fruition in record time.

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