What is a Personal Emergency Leave in Ontario?

What is a Personal Emergency Leave in Ontario?

Since the spread of COVID-19, what personal emergency means has greatly shifted. In 2018, the first bill that was passed pertaining to personal emergency leave was Bill 148, which indicated that employees were eligible to take two paid days leave of absence, which later that year, changed to ten unpaid days leave of absence.

When the COVID-19 virus began to spread, there was a new type of emergency leave that was created called the “declared emergency leave”. The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) outlines declared emergency leave, which allows employees to take an unpaid leave of absence, with no limited absence period, that guarantees complete job protection. This leave was strictly created for emergencies concerning COVID-19, for example, hospitalization due to the virus, quarantine measures etc. This is important to note because declared emergency leaves are still valid in Ontario until the end of July 2022.

Presently, under the ESA, personal emergency leave is when an employee can take a leave of absence for an emergency pertaining to their personal illness or injury, or that of a family member, and is entitled to a 10 day leave of absence with a minimum 2 days pay.

Any employee protected under the ESA is entitled to up to ten days of a personal emergency leave with a guarantee of two days’ pay. The employee could be paid more than two of those days and must be paid more than two days if a contract between the employer and employee promises more paid days.

For an employee to be eligible to take a personal emergency leave, it must be due to illness, injury, serious medical emergency, or more generally, an “urgent matter”. An urgent matter would be a situation that must be handled immediately or a situation that ensued that was completely out of the control of the employee.

When the employee requires a personal emergency leave, the employee must prove that this leave is “reasonable under the circumstances” and the employer must consider what is reasonable proof to require under the circumstances.

If you are an employee who has not been allocated the right to a personal emergency leave by your employer, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.