On December 17, 2021, the federally proposed Bill C-3 received royal assent. One of the material amendments made to the Canada Labour Code (Code) will allow employees to earn up to 10 days of medical leave of absence with pay in a calendar year. This amendment will apply to all employees working in a federally regulated workplace. The date on which this amendment will come into force remains to be determined by order.

Here are a few takeaways:

Calculation methodology

The method used to calculate earned medical leaves of absence with pay will differ between the first calendar year in which an employee is hired (or in which the amendment comes into force in the case of an employee who is already employed) and subsequent calendar years.

For the first calendar year in which an employee is hired, he or she will earn three days of medical leave of absence with pay after the first 30 days of continuous employment with the employer. Subsequently, after completing 60 days of continuous employment (still within that first calendar year), the employee will earn one day of medical leave of absence with pay for each month of continuous employment.

If, on the date on which the amendment comes into force, an employee is already working for an employer that is subject to the Code, the employee will be entitled to this calculation method for the calendar year in which the amendment comes into force.

For subsequent calendar years, the employee will earn one day of medical leave of absence with pay after each month of continuous employment with the employer in that calendar year.

Note that an employee may only earn up to 10 days of medical leave of absence with pay per calendar year.

Compensation:

Days of medical leave of absence with pay will be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of wages for his or her normal hours of work. Such compensation will for all purposes be considered wages.

Carried forward

Each day of medical leave of absence with pay that is earned, but not taken, in a calendar year will be carried forward to January 1 of the following calendar year, but will be included in the calculation of the 10-day limit for the calendar year to which it is carried forward.

Period

An employee may take his or her days of medical leave of absence with pay in one or more periods, but the employer may require that each period of leave be of not less than one day’s duration.

Medical certificate

The employer may also require that an employee taking a medical leave of absence with pay of at least five consecutive days provide a certificate issued by a health care practitioner certifying that he or she was incapable of working. The employer’s request for a certificate must be given in writing no later than 15 days after the employee’s return to work.

We will keep you informed of the date on which the amendments will be coming into force just as soon as it is announced.

The author wishes to thank Philippe Carignan, student at law, for his assistance in drafting this article. 

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