Leaves of Absence

Employment Law | January 24, 2023

Most employees in BC are entitled to various leaves of absence depending on their current circumstances. A leave of absence allows an employee to take time off from their position without fear of losing their job. This form of leave of absence is also known as a job-protected leave. While some types of leave are paid through employment insurance, most types of leave are unpaid. As a team of experienced employment lawyers, the experts at Linley Welwood know how important it is for employees and employers alike to understand the details surrounding leaves of absence. That is why we have compiled some information on the most common types of job-protected leaves available in BC.

Which Types of Job-Protected Leaves are Available?

Each of the different types of job-protected leaves/leaves of absence have different standards applied to them and operate in different ways. It is important to determine the type of leave that you require to ensure that you and your employer are protected. During an employee’s leave of absence, their employer is responsible to maintain their position and job and afford that employee all of the rights they would receive regularly, but they are not expected to pay that employee during their time away. Some of the different types of leaves that an employee can take without needing to worry about losing their employment include:

Personal Illness or Injury Leave

If you are sick or injured and need to take a few days off work in order to get better, the Employment Standards Act ensures that you are entitled to up to five days of paid time off each year. If an extended amount of time is needed for recovery, this will need to be negotiated with your employer.

Maternity or Parental Leave

New parents are entitled to maternity and parental leave, during which they can usually expect a portion of their salary to be covered by employment insurance.

Read our overview of maternity and parental leave in BC.

Family Responsibility Leave

Employees are entitled to take up to five days of leave per year in order to aid in the care and education of a minor dependant.

Critical Illness or Injury Leave, Compassionate Care Leave

Certain types of leave are granted for those who need to care for a family member who has an injury or illness that has been deemed as critical or terminal.

Bereavement Leave

The death of an immediate family member entitles an employee to take up to 3 days off. These days off do not have to be consecutive or take place on the days of a funeral. The employee also does not need to give forward notice of these days.

Leave Respecting the Disappearance or Death of a Child

If a child in the care of an employee goes missing or passes away, that employee is entitled to a set amount of time off of work without the added stress of needing to worry about losing their job. This is typically to be taken as unpaid leave. The details of the time off can be worked out with the employer so that the situation can work as well as possible for both parties.

Leave Respecting Domestic or Sexual Violence

An employee can take up to 5 days of paid leave and an additional 5 days of unpaid leave per calendar year if they are impacted by domestic or sexual violence. If necessary, an employee can take up to 15 more weeks of unpaid leave. This leave also applies to parents of a child or dependent impacted by this kind of violence.

Reservist’s Leave

Employees who are also a reservist for the Canadian Forces are entitled to 20 days of unpaid leave per calendar year to participate in Canadian Forces training activities. Employees who are also a reservist for the Canadian Forces are entitled to unpaid leave for as long as they are:

  • Deployed to a Canadian Forces operation inside or outside of Canada.
  • Engaged, either inside or outside Canada, in a pre-deployment or post-deployment activity required by the Canadian Forces.
  • Deployed to assist with an emergency or its aftermath in Canada.

To learn more about job-protected leaves, get in touch with the team at Linley Welwood. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services or your situation.

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