On March 17, Alberta revised its Employment Standards Code Regulations to provide 14 days of unpaid leave to employees who miss work due to COVID-19 self-quarantine or self-isolation, retroactive to March 5. The headline isn’t so much the leave but the fact that it’s unpaid, which goes against previous government announcements that COVID-19 leave would be paid. The saving grace for employees is that the usual medical requirements for leave eligibility don’t apply. In other words, employees can take COVID-19 without having to:
- Have been employed by the same employer for 90 days;
- Provide a medical certificate; or
- Provide notice of a return date.
COVID-19 leave doesn’t affect an employee’s existing ESC entitlement to 16 weeks of unpaid illness or injury leave. Employees on COVID-19 leave may also qualify for federal EI sickness benefits or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit Program or Emergency Support Benefit.