COVID-19 response

Temporary rules: As of March 17, 2020, employees are entitled to a job-protected leave for a period of time that is necessary to meet the employee’s family responsibilities, if they need to care for:

  • self-isolated family members
  • children who are unable to attend school or child care services as a result of any recommendations or directions of the Chief Medical Officer with respect to COVID-19

Eligibility:

  • Employees are eligible for the leave regardless of their length of service.
  • Employees do not need a medical note in order to access this job-protected leave.
    • Employers may ask employees for documentation that proves they are eligible to take the leave (such as a school or daycare enrolment, or verification of the employee's need to care for self-isolated family members)
  • Employees can take this leave more than once.
  • Employees can take this leave, and any other job-protected leave, consecutively.
  • Employees can access this leave until August 14, 2021.

Notice:

  • Employees need to notify the employer when they go on the leave, preferably in writing.
  • Employees need to provide notice as soon as possible and reasonable in the circumstances.

Returning to work:

  • Employees do not need a medical note to return to work.

Financial supports:

  • The Government of Canada has announced measures to support individuals, businesses and industries with the impacts of COVID-19. Learn more about Government of Canada supports.

Basic rules

  • Eligible employees can take time off work without risk of losing their job.
  • Employers must grant personal and family responsibility leave to eligible employees and give them their same, or equivalent, job back when the employee returns to work.
  • Employers are not required to pay wages or benefits during leave, unless stated in an employment contract or collective agreement.
  • Employees on personal and family responsibility leave are considered to be continuously employed for the purposes of calculating years of service.

Employee eligibility

Employees are eligible for personal and family responsibility 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 are not required under employment standards legislation to grant them leave.

Leave must be considered necessary for:

  • the health of the employee or,
  • for the employee to meet his or her family responsibilities in relation to a family member

Employers and employees may agree that the employee may take the leave in half day increments if required.

Family members

All of the following are considered family members:

  • partner (spouse, adult interdependent or common-law)
  • parents, foster parents, guardians
  • children, foster children, wards, partner’s children
  • siblings
  • grandchildren
  • grandparents
  • any other person living with the employee as a member of their family

Length of leave

An employee can take up to 5 days of personal and family responsibility 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 personal and family responsibility leave, however, employers can establish their own policies for documentation. 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 while on personal and family responsibility 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 personal and family responsibility 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.