This leave is for employees who need to quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19. Employees who need to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment during their working hours can take the paid COVID-19 vaccination leave.
As of March 5, 2020, all employees who are in quarantine due to COVID-19, are eligible for 14 days of unpaid leave.
- All employees are eligible regardless of their length of service.
- Employees can take this leave more than once.
- Employees can take this leave, and any other job-protected leave, consecutively.
- Employers and employees may explore alternate work arrangements such as working from home.
- Employees on COVID-19 leave are considered to be continuously employed for the purpose of calculating years of service.
Employees need to provide written notice to their employer as soon as possible and reasonable in the circumstances when they are taking this leave.
Employees do not need:
- a medical note in order to access this job-protected leave
- a medical note to return to work
- to give a written notice to the employer when they are able to go back to work
Pay and overtime
Employers are not required to pay for sick time or time where an employee did not work or earn wages.
Employees can request to use their available vacation pay or banked overtime.
All employees recommended or directed by the Chief Medical Officer to quarantine related to COVID-19 are entitled to 14 days of unpaid, job-protected leave.
All employees are eligible regardless of their length of service.
Quarantine is any self-isolation or self-quarantine as a result of COVID-19, as may be recommended or directed by the Chief Medical Officer.
Employers are encouraged to work with their employees to explore alternate working arrangements to allow them to continue to work safely, such as working from home or completing duties that do not require contact with people.
If alternate arrangements cannot be made, employers are not required to schedule employees for work, however, employees who have had a prolonged period where they have not been scheduled for work can explore constructive dismissal.
Termination of employment
Employees can’t be terminated or laid off while on a job-protected leave unless the employer suspends or discontinues the business. In this case, employees can be terminated or laid off. The employer must reinstate the employee if the business starts up again within 52 weeks after their leave ends.
Employers can’t discriminate against, lay off or terminate an employee, or require them to resign, because of a request for a job-protected leave.
For more information, contact Alberta Human Rights Commission.
An employee who feels they have been improperly terminated can file an employment standards complaint.
Employees may be eligible for sickness benefits under the federal Employment Insurance program.
It is important to be aware that the eligibility requirements for EI benefits and eligibility to take a job-protected leave in Alberta may be different. For more information on EI, contact the Government of Canada.
How the law applies
Employment Standards COVID-19 Leave Regulation sets out the rules for COVID-19 leave.
Other available leaves
- Long-term illness and injury leave (up to 16 weeks)
- Regular personal and family responsibility leave, not related to COVID-19 (5 days)
- Temporary personal and family responsibility leave, related to COVID-19 (flexible)
- Critical illness leave (up to 36 weeks for a child, up to 16 weeks for an adult)
Additional eligibility criteria may apply to other available leaves.