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Sick Leave

Region: Ontario Answer # 1601

Under the Employment Standards Act, most workers in Ontario are eligible for various types of unpaid, job-protected leave. The Act defines what the leave is for, who is eligible to take it, and how long it can be taken.

One common type of leave is sick leave.

What is Sick Leave?

Under the ESA, eligible employees are entitled to take up-to three days of unpaid, job protected leave each year due to personal illness, injury or medical emergency, known as sick leave.  An employee becomes entitled to this leave once they have worked for an employer for at least two consecutive weeks.

Is a medical note required?

When sick leave is taken, an employer may require the employee to provide a medical note from a health practitioner (doctor, nurse practitioner or psychologist) if it is “reasonable in the circumstances”.

When asking for the medical note, the employer can ask only for the following information:

  • the duration or expected duration of the sick leave
  • when the employee was seen by a health care professional
  • was the patient examined in person by the health care professional issuing the note?

Employers cannot ask about the diagnosis or treatment of the employee’s medical condition.


Get help

For more information, view the Government of Ontario’s Guide to the Employment Standards Act. For legal help and assistance, contact an employment lawyer.

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