Employees In Some Canadian Companies Are Now Entitled To 10 Days Of Paid Sick Leave Per Year

The rule change affects almost a million employees in federally regulated workplaces. Here's who qualifies.

Senior Editor
A Government of Canada logo on an office tower in Ottawa, Ontario.

A Government of Canada logo on an office tower in Ottawa, Ontario.

As of December 1, employees in federally regulated workplaces in Canada are entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave per year. The rule change applies to almost 19,000 employers, the government says.

"One thing COVID-19 made crystal clear is that when you’re sick, you should stay home," federal Minister of Labour Seamus O'Regan said in a press release.

"Ten days of paid sick leave means that more workers won’t have to choose between getting well and getting paid. That's good for workers and their families, and it's good for business, too."

What are federally regulated workplaces in Canada?

The government estimates that about 6% of the Canadian workforce, or about 945,000 people, work in federally regulated industries, which include Crown corporations, such as VIA Rail and Canada Post, as well as banks; airlines; interprovincial or international marine shipping companies; interprovincial port, ferry, canal, bridge and tunnel services and management; radio and television companies; trucking and rail companies that operate across international or provincial boundaries; and telecommunications companies, including internet services.

How does the paid sick leave work?

The paid sick leave days will accumulate over the course of the year for qualifying employees. They get their first three paid sick days after 30 days of employment. People already employed in a federally regulated industry as of December 1, 2022, will get their first three days on December 31.

Thereafter, employees will accrue one additional day every calendar month until they accumulate the maximum of 10. Unused days will carry over to the next year but only count toward that annual maximum of 10.

When do you get paid sick days?

According to the text of the new regulation, qualifying reasons for paid sick leave are limited to a "personal illness or injury of the employee," "organ or tissue donation from the employee," "medical appointments for the employee during working hours" and quarantines.

An employer can ask for a note from a health care professional verifying the need for leave only if the employee is using five or more consecutive days.

Moreover, paid sick leave can only be used for work days, meaning it doesn't extend to days off. So, for example, someone who's only scheduled to work Monday to Friday can't request paid sick leave for a Saturday or Sunday.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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