The federal government passed Bill C-3 (the “Bill”), An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, on December 17, 2021. The Bill has enhanced paid sick leave and bereavement leave for the federally regulated employees in the private sector under the Canada Labour Code.
(a) Paid Sick Leave
Bill C-3 repealed s.206.6(1)(a) of the Canada Labour Code, which entitled the federally regulated employees in the private sector to only five days of paid sick leave in every calendar year. Those employees are now entitled to ten days of paid sick leave per year, as follows:
- After completing thirty days of continuous employment with the employer, the employee will earn three days of paid sick leave.
- After sixty days of continuous employment with the employer, the employee will earn one day of paid sick leave at the beginning of each month, up to a maximum of ten days.
- Any day of paid medical leave that is not taken by the employee in a calendar year carries forward to January 1 of the following calendar year and counts toward the ten days that can be earned in the following calendar year.
- The paid sick leave may be taken in one or more periods. The employer may require that each period of leave be of not less than one day’s duration.
- For each day of paid sick leave taken, the employee must be paid at their regular rate of wages for their normal hours of work.
An employer can require an employee to provide a medical certificate confirming their inability to work during the days of absence, provided that the employee has taken paid sick leave for at least five consecutive days and the employer’s written request for such certificate is no later than fifteen days after the employee’s return to work from medical leave. Note that an employer may also request the same certificate from an employee who takes at least three days of unpaid sick leave, certifying that the employee was incapable of working for the period of their medical leave of absence without pay.
(b) Bereavement Leave
Bill C-3 also amended some aspects of paid bereavement leave under the Canada Labour Code. Under the new leave provisions:
- In the event of the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family or a family member, the employee is entitled to a leave of absence from their employment for up to ten days. This leave may be taken during the period that begins on the day on which the death occurs and ends six weeks after the latest of the days on which any funeral, burial or memorial service of that deceased person occurs.
- In the event of the death of a child of the employee or the death of a child of their spouse or common-law partner, the employee is entitled to a leave of absence of up to eight weeks. This leave may be taken during the period that begins on the day on which the death occurs and ends twelve weeks after the latest of the days on which any funeral, burial or memorial service of the child occurs.
Being aware of the eligibility criteria and the applicable regulations is valuable for employers and their employees. Experiencing illness or losing a child or a family member is traumatic, and not knowing the relevant laws could exacerbate the trauma. If you have any questions about Bill C-3, or workplace law generally, do not hesitate to contact our team.