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Domestic violence leave

Eligible employees can take up to 10 days of unpaid, job-protected leave due to the effects of violence in the home.

Basic rules

  • Employees are eligible for domestic violence 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 domestic violence 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 domestic violence leave are considered to be continuously employed for the purposes of calculating years of service.

Employee eligibility

Employees are eligible for domestic violence 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.

Employees are eligible for domestic violence leave if an act of domestic violence occurs to:

  • the employee
  • the employee’s dependent child
  • a protected adult living with the employee

A protected adult refers to an assisted adult, represented adult or supported adult as defined in the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act.

Acts of domestic violence

To be an act of domestic violence, the act must be caused by a person who:

  • is or has been married to the employee
  • is or has resided together in an intimate relationship
  • is or has been an adult interdependent partner
  • is or has been dating the employee
  • is the biological or adoptive parent of a child with the employee
  • is related to the employee by blood, marriage, adoption or an adult interdependent relationship
  • is residing with the employee and has care and custody over the employee by court order

The following are considered acts of domestic violence:

  • any intentional or reckless action that causes injury or property damage while intimidating or harming a person
  • any act or threat that intimidates a person by creating a reasonable fear for property damage or personal injury
  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • forced confinement
  • sexual contact that is coerced by force or threat
  • stalking

An employee may take domestic violence leave for the following purposes:

  • to allow the employee, employee’s dependent child or a protected adult to seek medical attention for physical or psychological injury caused by domestic violence
  • to obtain services from a victim services organization
  • to allow the employee, employee’s dependent child or a protected adult to obtain psychological or other professional counselling
  • to relocate (temporarily or permanently)
  • to seek legal or law enforcement assistance, including time relating to legal proceedings

Length of leave

Employees eligible for domestic violence leave may take up to 10 days unpaid for the leave 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.

Termination of employment

An employer may not terminate the employment or lay off an employee for requesting or while on domestic violence 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.

Where to get help

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

The government directly delivers these supports to Albertans affected by family violence:

If you are an employer or co-worker looking for information on how to support your staff or colleagues regarding a situation involving domestic violence:

How the law applies

Part 2, Division 7.6 of the Employment Standards Code sets out the rules for domestic violence 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.