Author: Lesha Van Der Bij
Many Canadian federally regulated employers were surprised when another round of changes to the new sick leave requirements were included in Bill C-19 and passed in June 2022. The latest changes include a reduced eligibility period for earning one day of paid medical leave per month.
Confused by the implications of the most recent amendments? You’re not alone. In this post, Compliance Works Inc. CEO and co-founder Lesha Van Der Bij clarifies what changes are coming for federal employers.
What is the New Sick Leave Requirement?
By December 1, 2022, new paid sick leave requirements in the Canada Labour Code are expected to come into force for Canadian federally regulated employers. Once in force, federal employers will be required to provide their employees with up to 10 days of paid sick leave.
As you may recall, the federal government included paid sick leave in Bill C-3, which received royal assent late last year. Bill C-19 made further changes to this new requirement, including reducing the eligibility period for earning additional sick leave days.
Taking into account all of the amendments, the new paid sick leave requires federal employers to provide the following:
- Initial Entitlement: Effective December 1, 2022, employees will be entitled to three days of paid medical leave after 30 days of continuous employment. This means that current employees will be eligible for three days of paid sick leave as of December 31, 2022.
- Monthly Earned Entitlement: After this initial 30-day period, employees will earn one day of paid leave at the beginning of each month, after completing one month of continuous employment. This means that starting on February 1, 2023, employees will acquire a fourth day of paid sick leave and will continue to accumulate one day of paid sick leave each following month.
- Maximum: Employees can earn up to 10 days of paid sick leave in a calendar year.
- Carry Forward: Each day of paid sick leave that an employee does not take in a calendar year carries forward to January 1 of the following calendar year and counts toward the 10 days that can be earned in the new year.
[Note: Regulations clarify that employers which calculate annual vacation based on a year other than a calendar year (i.e., Alternate Year), will determine maximums and carry forward entitlements based on the Alternate Year.]
Sick leave may be taken in one or more periods, and the employer may require that each period of leave is a minimum of one day’s duration.
Which Employers Are Affected?
All federally-regulated employers (e.g., banks, broadcasting, transportation) must comply with the new sick leave requirements.
You may recall that there was discussion of phasing in the new sick leave requirements for workplaces with less than 100 employees. However, the government has since indicated that the new sick leave requirement will apply to all federal employers.
What Proof Can Employers Request?
Employers may require employees who take at least five consecutive days of paid sick leave to provide medical certificates within 15 days of their return to work.
What Records Must Employers Keep?
Employers will have to retain a number of new records as a part of the new sick leave requirements, including:
- the dates that any sick leaves begin and end;
- the year of employment in respect of which a leave was earned;
- the number of days of leave carried over from a previous year;
- any requests for a medical certificate, and the medical certificate provided by an employee in response to a request;
- records of the amounts paid for sick leaves.
How Compliance Works Helps HR Professionals
Compliance with sick leave requirements can be challenging and time consuming. Compliance Works helps HR professionals quickly research and clarify the Canadian federal and provincial employment law landscape and any upcoming changes to which employers are required to respond.