Table of contents

Basic rules

  • Employees are eligible for bereavement leave if they have been employed at least 90 days with the same employer.
  • Employees are entitled to 3 days of bereavement leave per calendar year, not per incident of bereavement.
  • 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.
  • Employees must give an employer notice as soon as is reasonable but a medical note or other proof of entitlement is not required by legislation.
  • 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 and have experienced the loss of a family member or have experienced pregnancy loss.

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.

Death of a family member

Bereavement leave can be taken after the death of an immediate or extended family member. All of the following are considered family members.

Employee’s family members:

  • Spouse, adult interdependent partner or common-law partner
  • Children (and their partner/spouse)
  • Current or former foster children (and their partner/spouse)
  • Current or former wards
  • Parents, step-parents and/or current or former guardians (and their partner/spouse)
  • Current or former foster parents
  • Siblings, half-siblings, step-siblings (and their partner/spouse)
  • Grandchildren, step-grandchildren (and their partner/spouse)
  • Grandparents, step-grandparents
  • Aunts, uncles, step-aunts, step-uncles (and their partner/spouse)
  • Nieces, nephews (and their partner/spouse)
  • A person the employee isn’t related to but considers to be like a close relative

Family members of employee’s spouse, common-law or adult interdependent partner:

  • Children (and their partner/spouse)
  • Current or former wards
  • Parents, step-parents, foster parents
  • Sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Aunts, uncles
  • Nieces, nephews

Pregnancy loss

Bereavement leave can be taken after a pregnancy loss. A pregnancy loss is any situation where a pregnancy ends other than in a live birth.

Bereaved employees include:

  • the person who was pregnant
  • the spouse or common law partner of the person who was pregnant
  • any other person who would have been a parent as the result of a pregnancy (for example, adoptive or surrogate parents)

If pregnancy loss occurs within 16 weeks of the estimated due date, the person who was pregnant may also be eligible for maternity 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 before taking a leave. A medical certificate or other documentation is not required by legislation in order to take bereavement leave. Any leave days not used by an employee do not have to be paid out by the employer if employment terminates.

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 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.

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