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  • Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836

    Hi…in Ontario, can employers require employees to take any accrued vacation time before returning from a job-protected leave (eg. pregnancy or parental leave)? If so, do you have an example of such a policy?

    Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836

    The best way to use up the earned vacation time is to have your employee take it right after the leave has ended.  In the case of a salaried employee, this would mean coding her as being an active employee the day after her leave has ended, such that she is back on payroll, but she does not return to work until her accrued vacation balance has been used up.  For an employee who receives only the vacation time but has to have worked the hours in order to earn the 4% vacation pay, you would have her take her earned vacation time as unpaid leave until it has been used up.  The Ontario Employment Standards states:
    If the deadline under the ESA for taking a vacation comes up when an employee is on pregnancy, parental, family medical, organ donor, personal emergency, declared emergency, or reservist leave, the vacation must be taken when the leave ends or at a later date with the agreement (in writing) of the employer and the employee.”
    For most business operations, it is much simpler to have your employee use up her vacation time prior to returning to work, rather than have her take it at a later time, as you already have a person trained to do her job on the ground who has been doing it for the year while she has been away.  This is the reason why many maternity leave replacement contracts in Ontario last for 14 months versus 12 months.  This time period gives a month on either end of the leave, one for training the new person coming in at the start, and a month to allow the person on leave to use up earned vacation time, come back to work and transition with the replacement prior to starting her old job again.
    Your Ontario employee does earn vacation time while away on parental leave.  However, you will have to look at the wording of her employment contract/offer letter to determine whether she also earns vacation pay.  Having a policy whereby your employees must use up earned vacation prior to returning from the leave is the simplest solution for most businesses.
    You can go to HR Insider’s policy page for a sample leave policy with language specifying the use of accrued vacation time.

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