COVID-19 Leave Changes

The Union would like to provide an update on the federally regulated COVID-19 Leaves that are currently available to all workers under the Canada Labour Code.

Effective June 19, 2021, employees can now take the leave related to COVID-19 under Part III (Labour Standards) of the Code for up to 42 weeks in total, when the employee is unable to work due to needing to provide care:

1) to a child who is under 12 years of age, or

2) to a family member who requires supervised care due to specified circumstances related to COVID-19 (for example, if the person’s school or care facility is closed due to COVID-19).

These are temporary measures to help Canadians overcome the many challenges they face because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures will be repealed no later than November 20, 2021. However, we have received confirmation from the government that an employee who starts a leave related to COVID-19 prior to its repeal date may finish the leave even if the return falls on a later date. That said, an employee must not start a leave related to COVID-19 after it has been repealed, even if the employee had not taken the full 42 weeks of leave.

There have been no changes to the leave related to COVID-19 for up to 4 weeks. This leave is intended for employees who are unable to work for personal health reasons related to COVID-19. You can take this leave as many times as necessary. However, as with the leave related to COVID-19 for up to 42 weeks, the leave must begin before the legislation is repealed.

We are aware that the current policy available on the portal has not been updated to reflect these changes, but we have been advised that an update will be issued shortly.  Please be sure to include the reason for your request in the submission and any supporting documentation can be sent to Melissa Diaz. If you require a date change, please amend your request via the eHR kiosk. As a reminder, the Code allows that an employer may require a written declaration in support of the reasons for the leave and any change in the length of the leave. However, you are not required to obtain and provide a certificate from a health care practitioner.

As we continue to see changes to the various government programs, we would encourage you to refer to the Employment and Social Development Canada website for a complete and up to date outline of the available programs, including eligibility criteria, as well as terms and conditions. Here is the direct link to the section on the types of leaves you can receive as an employee working in federally regulated industries and workplaces:

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/jobs/workplace/federal-labour-standards/leaves.html#h2.12

We would recommend that you carefully review the terms and conditions of the various leaves, including the eligibility criteria, prior to submitting your request. Should your leave request be denied for any reason please follow up with your Local with a copy of your submission and the response.

We appreciate that these are challenging times for many of you, ranging from childcare issues to caring for family members that don’t have access to care due to COVID. Please continue to raise any concerns with your Local as required so we can ensure these issues are brought forward in a timely and effective manner.

In solidarity,