Nobody should have to choose between their life and their job. That’s why employment standards laws ensure employees the right to go on unpaid leave to have babies, care for sick family members and tend to other personal situations requiring them to be away from work without forfeiting their job. Current laws provide for no fewer than 16 kinds of leave, including 5 core leaves that every jurisdiction provides for, including:
- Maternity leave, aka pregnancy leave for female employees to have a baby;
- Parental leave allowing both sexes to fulfill parental obligations;
- Compassionate care leave to care for seriously ill family members (although it’s not called compassionate care in Ontario);
- Bereavement leave to attend funerals or mourn losses; and
- Leave for military reservists called up to active duty.
Compassionate care used to be the sole basis for taking time off to meet family caregiving obligations. But in recent years, new family caregiving leaves have been created to deal with specific family illnesses and emergencies, including:
- Leave to care for critically ill children and adults (all jurisdictions but BC and NU);
- Leave to deal with a child’s death or disappearance (all but NT and NU);
- Domestic violence leave (all but BC, NU and YK); and
- Days off to carry out family responsibilities (AB, BC, MB, NB, ON, PEI).
Other leaves include:
- Sick leave or days (all but BC, MB, SK, NU);
- Leave to donate organs or tissue (MB, ON, QC, SK);
- Jury duty leave (BC, NB, NS, PEI, NT, NU);
- Time off to attend citizenship swearing-in ceremony (AB, MB, NS, SK); and
- Leaves to carry out responsibilities in public emergencies (NS, ON)
In addition to these staples, Québec has 4 kinds of leave that no other jurisdiction has, including:
- Paternity leave;
- Family member suicide leave; and
- Day off to get married or attend a close relative’s wedding.
Meanwhile, Sask. is the only province that gives employees time off (up to 12 months) to run for public office in SK.
The Table below summarizes the unpaid leaves provided for in each jurisdiction.