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Changes to Paid Medical Leave for federally-regulated employees

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Beginning Dec. 1, 2022, the federal government implemented changes surrounding the NEW Paid Medical Leave. As a result, all federally-regulated employers should be looking at their policies and current sick leave benefits to ensure compliance with these legislated changes.

Please read on for a summary of changes that have come into force.

Paid Medical Leave

Federally-regulated employers will now be required to provide all employee – including full-time, part-time, casual, fixed term and interns – with ten (10) days of paid medical leave.

Employees can use this leave to:

  • Tend to a personal illness or injury
  • Attend medical appointments that occur during their scheduled working hours
  • Quarantine
  • Provide an organ or tissue donation

Please note: If employees need to take time off as a result of an illness/injury of a family member (including dependents), they would be entitled to do under the Personal Leave entitlements that are provided for under federal legislation.

Employers can only request medical documentation from an employee if they have taken five (5) or more consecutive days of leave. Requests must also be made in writing and no later than fifteen (15) days from when the employee returned to work.

After completing thirty (30) days of continuous employment, employees are to be provided with three (3) days of paid medical leave. Following this, employees are to earn one (1) paid day of medical leave per month, up to a maximum of ten (10) days for that year.

Because these changes came into force on Dec. 1, individuals who were already employed on this date will become entitled to three (3) days of paid medical leave after Dec. 30.

Unless there is a collective agreement in place outlining other provisions, paid medical leave can be calculated based on the employee’s average daily earnings (excluding overtime) for the twenty (20) days the employee had worked immediately preceding the first day that paid medical leave was taken.

Paid medical leave may be carried over from one year to the next, up to a maximum of ten (10) days. Where an employee carries over paid medical leave, the amount carried forward will count towards the paid leave entitlement that they are entitled to for the following year.

The year in which paid medical leave is accrued can either be from:

  • Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 (calendar year); or
  • The year that the employer uses for calculating employee Vacation (for example: some employers may use their fiscal year, such as April 1 to March 31)

Determining which year the employer uses will be important as it will have an impact on carry over and accrual amounts.

 

Example:

a) 30 day qualifying period:

Sally has two (2) years of continuous employment. The new medical leave with pay provisions apply to her from the date they come into force, on Dec. 1, 2022. Sally completed the initial 30-day qualifying period of continuous employment on Dec. 30, 2022. Therefore, she earns three (3) days of medical leave with pay on Dec. 31, 2022.

 

b) Carryover:

Sally’s employer uses the calendar year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) as the basis for leave entitlement.

Therefore, Sally's three (3) unused days carry forward to the 2023 calendar year. These days that are carried forward count as days earned in 2023. Since Sally carried over three (3) days, she may only earn an additional seven (7) days in 2023.

 

c) Accrual:

On Feb. 1, 2023, she earns her fourth day of leave.

Sally continues to earn one (1) day of leave at the beginning of each month until she earns her 10th day on Aug. 1, 2023.

 

d) Allocation after first year:

If Sally had used all ten (10) days of her paid medical leave by Dec. 31, 2023 then she will begin to accrue medical leave in the new calendar year. Therefore, after Jan. 31, 2024 Sally would receive one (1) day of paid medical leave. She would continue to accrue one (1) day of paid leave per month until she maxes out at ten (10) days, which would be after Oc. 31, 2024. 

-or-

If Sally carried forward two (2) days of paid medical after Dec. 31, 2023, then this would count towards her ten (10) day entitlement for the year. Therefore, Sally would accrue one (1) day of paid medical leave per month until she maxes out at ten (10) days after Aug. 31, 2024.

 


 

If you or your organization would like assistance in reviewing, updating, or creating a new Sick Leave policy, we encourage you to reach out to our HR Services team.

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