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6 Reasons You Can Take Time Off Work In Quebec That You Probably Don't Know About

You may know about the nine statutory holidays in Quebec that allow you to take time off from work — but there are even more lesser-known leaves and absences that Quebec employees can make use of.

No matter where you work, Quebec's Act respecting labour standards, enforced by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), lays out which days off you are entitled to take. Here are some of them.

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The birth or adoption of a child

When a child is born or adopted in Quebec, parents can take up to five days of leave in addition to their parental leave.

According to the CNESST, both parents — whether biological or adoptive — may be absent from work for five days, the first two days of which are paid.

However, if the parent(s) are already on parental leave while the birth or the adoption of the child occurs, they are not entitled to the five-day leave.

A parent may also be entitled to special maternity leave in the event of a high-risk pregnancy.

Jury duty or a trial if you are a witness

The Quebec government specifies that employers must allow employees to be absent from work for the purpose of jury duty or to be a witness during a trial — so your employer cannot fire, suspend or discipline you for your absence.

Employers are not required to pay you if you are required to be absent for court. But prospective jurors and witnesses can claim an allowance or compensation for time spent in court.

If your employer penalizes you for a court absence, you can make a complaint with the Tribunal administratif du travail, in addition to taking any appropriate legal action.

To care for a loved one

You are entitled to 10 days yearly to fulfill family or parental obligations, according to the CNESST.

Your 10-day leave must be related to the care, health or education of your child or your spouse's child, or the health of a relative or person for whom you act as an informal caregiver.

You can divide this leave into half-days or hours with approval from your employer.

For a wedding or civil union

According to the CNESST, a worker is entitled to one paid day off for a wedding or civil union in Quebec.

Workers are also entitled to a day off without pay for the wedding or civil union of an immediate family member or their spouse's child.

No matter the situation, you must advise your employer of your absence at least a week in advance.

For the death of a relative

In the event of the death or funeral of an immediate family member — like a parent, sibling, spouse, or child — Quebec workers are entitled to five days of leave with only two of them paid.

For the death of a grandparent, grandchild or in-law, you are entitled to one day off without pay.

In the event of the death of a minor child, a worker can be absent from work without pay for up to 104 weeks.

After a miscarriage or abortion

Before 20 weeks of pregnancy:

If pregnancy is terminated before 20 weeks, you have the right to be absent for up to three weeks without pay, with a possible extension if you obtain medical justification from your doctor.

After 20 weeks of pregnancy:

If pregnancy is terminated after 20 weeks, Quebec workers are entitled to maternity leave without pay for a maximum of 20 weeks.

Those who have miscarriages or abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy are also entitled to benefits under the Régime québécois d’assurance parentale (RQAP).

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