Bereavement leave

Eligible employees can take up to 3 days of unpaid leave upon a family member’s death. These standards come into effect on January 1, 2018.

The legislation on this page comes into effect on January 1, 2018

For information on Employment Standards legislation that is in force until December 31, 2017, go to

Additional information regarding persons designated as a family member will be available by January 1, 2018.

Basic rules

  • Employees are eligible for bereavement leave if they have been employed at least 90 days with the same employer.
  • Eligible employees can take time off work without risk of losing their job.
  • Employers must grant bereavement leave to eligible employees and give them their same, or equivalent, job back when the employee returns to work.
  • Employers aren’t required to pay wages or benefits during leave, unless stated in an employment contract or collective agreement.
  • Employees on bereavement leave are considered to be continuously employed for the purposes of calculating years of service.

Employee eligibility

Employees are eligible for bereavement leave if they have been employed at least 90 days with the same employer.

Employees with less than 90 days of employment may still be granted leave. However, their employers aren’t required under employment standards legislation to grant them leave.

Length of leave

An employee can take up to 3 days of bereavement leave in each calendar year. Any leave days not used by an employee cannot be carried over into a new calendar year.

Giving notice

An employee must give an employer notice as soon as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances.  A medical certificate or other documentation is not required by legislation in order to take bereavement leave.

Termination of employment

An employer may not terminate the employment or lay off an employee for requesting or while on bereavement leave.  Any leave days not used by an employee do not have to be paid out by the employer if employment terminates.

An employee who feels they have been improperly terminated can file an Employment Standards Complaint.

How the law applies

Part 2, Division 7.6 of the Employment Standards Code (Code) sets out the rules for bereavement leave. The legislation entitles eligible employees to a period of leave without pay, at the end of which they must be reinstated in their same, or an equivalent, job.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.