Area of Law: Employment Law
Answer # 1608
Family Responsibility Leave and Bereavement LeaveRegion: Ontario Answer # 1608
Two common types of leave found in the Ontario Employment Standards Act are family responsibility leave and bereavement leave.
What is Family Responsibility Leave?
Family responsibility leave refers to time off due to an illness, injury, medical emergency or urgent matter relating to certain relatives. Under the Act, eligible employees are entitled to take up-to three days of unpaid, job protected Family Responsibility Leave each year.
An employee becomes entitled to this leave once they have worked for an employer for at least two consecutive weeks.
Who are eligible family members?
An employee can take family responsibility leave due to the illness, injury, medical emergency or urgent matter relating to the following eligible family members:
- a spouse (includes both married and unmarried couples, of the same or opposite genders)
- a parent, step-parent, foster parent, child, step-child, foster child, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse
- a spouse of the employee’s child
- a brother or sister of the employee
- a relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance
Infectious Disease Emergency Leave
Under the ESA, an unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave, available to employees who are not performing the duties of their position for certain reasons related to COVID-19. There is currently no limit on how many days an employee can be on unpaid leave, and no date for when this leave will no longer be available.
Visit the Ontario government website on infectious disease emergency leave for more information on both the paid and unpaid leave.
What is Bereavement Leave?
Under the Act, eligible employees are also entitled to take up-to two days of unpaid, job protected bereavement leave each year, after they have worked for the employer for at least two consecutive weeks. Bereavement leave refers to time off due the death of certain relatives. Eligible family members are the same as those for family responsibility leave.
An employee may be required to provide evidence “reasonable in the circumstances” that they are eligible for bereavement leave. This might be:
- a death certificate,
- a notification from a funeral home,
- a published obituary, or
- a copy of a printed program from a memorial service or communication from a legal office setting up an appointment to discuss estate matters
Reasonable in the circumstances may be determined on a number of factors, including:
- the duration of the leave,
- whether there is a pattern of absences, and
- whether any evidence is available and the cost of the evidence
For more information on the different kinds of leave available to employees, view the Government of Ontario’s Guide to the Employment Standards Act. For legal help and assistance, contact an employment lawyer.
A criminal record will appear on an employment police check and will affect your ability to get or keep a job. To erase your criminal record, learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.
You now haveoptions: