In A Flash

Paid Sick Days on the Horizon for Federally Regulated Employees

On December 1, 2022 new paid medical leave provisions under Part III of the Canada Labour Code are set to come into force, unless an earlier date is established through an order of the Governor in Council.

The new leave provisions were introduced by Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, which received Royal Assent on December 17, 2021. Once in force, the Act will provide 10 days of paid medical leave for employees in private sector federally regulated industries such as banking, telecommunications, and inter-provincial and international transportation.

On July 16, 2022, the federal government published Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canadian Labour Code (Medical Leave with Pay) proposing regulatory amendments to give effect to the medical leave provisions of the Act. 

The actual number of days to which an employee will be entitled will depend on the employee’s length of service as follows:  

  • After 30 days of continuous employment with the employer, the employee will earn 3 days of paid medical leave.
  • Employees will earn one additional paid day at the start of each month after completing one month of continuous employment, up to a maximum of 10 days per calendar year.
  • Each paid day must be paid at the employee’s “regular rate of wages” as defined by the Canada Labour Standard Regulations.
  • An employer may require an employee to take paid medical leave in full day increments.

Carrying Over Paid Medical Leave

Any days of medical leave with pay that an employee does not take in a calendar year will carry forward to the next calendar year (January 1), but each day carried over reduces the number of days that can be earned in that next year by one.

Medical Certificate Request

An employer may require, through a written request made within 15 days after the employee’s return to work, that the employee provide a medical certificate with respect to any period of paid or unpaid medical leave of at least 5 consecutive days.

Record-Keeping Requirements

The proposed Regulations will require all employers to keep the following records related to each period of medical leave with pay:

  • Dates of commencement and termination of leave;
  • The year of employment when leave was earned;
  • The number of days of leave carried over from a previous year;
  • A copy of any written request for a medical certificate made by an employer; and
  • A copy of any medical certificate submitted by an employee.

As the new medical leave provisions will be available to all employees, they will likely represent a significant cost for many employers. Employers should be prepared to see an uptick in requests for sick days once the new leave provisions are in effect. Prior to December 1, 2022, employers should carefully review their current sick and personal leave-related policies and procedures, and any applicable collective agreement provisions, to determine whether any changes may be required to ensure compliance with the new requirements. If any policies or collective agreement provisions require revisions to achieve compliance, employers should also provide advance notice to affected employees and unions.

If you have any questions about this topic, or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Allison Wight, an Articling Student in the firm’s Calgary office.

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