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New COVID-19 Leave Rights Across Canada

Since the pandemic began, 9 jurisdictions have created a new form of employment standards leave to ensure employees who miss work due to COVID-19 don’t lose their jobs. What all of these leaves have in common:

  • They’re unpaid;
  • They don’t require minimum service the way sick leave does in many jurisdictions;
  • They don’t require employees to provide a doctor’s note or other medical certification the way most illness-related leaves do.

Where COVID-19 leaves differ is with regard to:

  • Leave triggers, especially with regard to whether missing work due to travel restrictions or orders to self-isolate by their employers are grounds for leave;
  • How long leave can last; and
  • Whether leave is just a temporary measure specific to COVID-19 or just the first application of a permanent leave for other infectious illnesses that become a public health emergency that may occur when the COVID-19 pandemic ends.