7 Lesser-Known Ways You Can Qualify For Time Off Work in Quebec

Brush up on your rights!

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Quebec government administrative building.

Quebec government administrative building.

Workers in Quebec have access to an array of options for taking time off work, including annual vacation, sick leave and statutory holidays. But there are additional ways you can qualify for paid leave.

Whether you're looking to recharge your batteries or take care of personal matters, it's worth exploring all the options available to you.

Personal Days

Close-up of a calendar on which a date has just been circled in red ink.

Close-up of a calendar on which a date has just been circled in red ink.

Martin Green | Dreamstime

Want to take some time off work to celebrate your birthday, move to a new place, or deal with a divorce? Unfortunately, there's no automatic leave provision, paid or unpaid, for these occasions, although you can still request time off from your employer. It's up to them to decide whether or not to grant your request.

You are, however, allowed two paid days off per year for sickness, non-work-related accidents or family obligations.

Organ Donation

\u200bAn ambulance.

An ambulance.

Michel Bussieres | Dreamstime

Employees have the option of taking two days of paid leave and up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month time frame for tissue or organ donation. While on leave, their employment status is safeguarded.

​Bereavement Leave

\u200bHeadstones in a Montreal cemetery at sunset.

Headstones in a Montreal cemetery at sunset.

Marc Bruxelle | Dreamstime

If a close family member passes away, you have the right to take time off work to cope with your loss. The death of a child, spouse, parent or sibling may entitle you to five days off work to attend the funeral and deal with related matters. Two of those days are paid by your employer, while the remaining three are unpaid.

In other circumstances, you may be able to take up to two years off work without pay. That includes the death of a child under the age of 18, the suicide of a child over the age of 18, the death of your spouse, common-law partner, or child over the age of 18 due to a crime.

If someone in your extended family, like a grandparent or son-in-law, passed away, you can take one unpaid day off work.

Domestic Violence Leave

\u200bMontreal courthouse.

Montreal courthouse.

Jerome Cid | Dreamstime

Employees who are absent from work due to domestic or sexual violence have the right to take an unpaid leave of up to 26 weeks within a 12-month duration. While they are on leave, their job security is guaranteed.

According to the CNESST, "A worker who is absent from work as a result of domestic or sexual violence must notify their employer as soon as possible and state the reason for their absence."

​Elder Care Leave

\u200bA caregiver supports the arm of a senior with a walking aid.

A caregiver supports the arm of a senior with a walking aid.

blurf | Dreamstime

A Quebec worker who is deemed a caregiver can take time off work for family or parental obligations related to the health of the person they care for, which is considered a short-term absence. They can take up to 10 days of leave, provided they have completed three months of uninterrupted service with their employer. If the 10 days have not been used for another reason during the year, the worker may be entitled to two days of absence with pay.

A person acting as a natural caregiver can also take a longer period of absence without pay, called extended absence. The duration of this extended absence varies based on the reason. If the person they care for has a serious accident or illness, they can take up to 16 weeks off within a 12-month period. If the person has a serious and potentially fatal illness (confirmed by a medical certificate), they can take up to 27 weeks off within a 12-month period.

​Parental Leave

\u200bA newborn baby.

A newborn baby.

Fuzja44 | Dreamstime

Leading up to birth, parents in Quebec can take unpaid time off for pregnancy-related examinations. Parents can also take up to 14 months of parental leave to care for their newborn child.

Employees can take five days off work after giving birth or adopting a child, including if a pregnancy ends after the 20th week. The first two days of leave are paid, while the remaining days are unpaid. To take the leave, the employer must be notified immediately and the leave must be taken within 15 days of the event


A white Rolls Royce and two limos line up for a wedding.

A white Rolls Royce and two limos line up for a wedding.

Meunierd | Dreamstime

You're entitled to a paid day off for your wedding or civil union. If you call out for the wedding or civil union of your child, parent, sibling, or your spouse's child, that counts as unpaid time off. You're legally obligated to notify your employer one week in advance of any wedding-related time off.

Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an award-winning writer, editor and former radio journalist with a passion for finding hidden gems in the city.