About Infectious Disease Emergency Leave

 Employees are entitled to take infectious disease emergency leave if they are not performing job duties because of the reasons in connections to a designated infectious disease. In this blog article, we would like to answer some questions about this leave given the rampant nature of the infectious Covid-19.

Q: What is an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave?

The infectious disease emergency leave refers to an unpaid, job-protected leave. This leave is available to all employees covered by the Employment Standards Act.

So far, the only disease that entitles you to take infectious disease emergency leave is Covid-19. Even though it was on March 19, 2020 that the Employment Standards Act was amended to include infectious disease emergency leave, it is retroactive to January 25, 2020. This leave will end on July 3, 2021.

Q: Who are Eligible for Infectious Disease Emergency Leave?

Employees can take infectious disease emergency leave if they will not be performing duties of their positions due to the following reasons:

  • The employee is under individual medical investigation, supervision, or treatment in connection to a designated infectious disease, whether this happens in Ontario, or another province, territory or country;
  • The employee is in quarantine, isolation or is subject to a control measure implemented as a result of information or directions related to a designated infectious disease issued bya public health officer, a physician or a nurse, Telehealth Ontario, a board of health, a municipal council in Ontario or the Government of Ontario or Canada;
  • The employee is under direction given by their employer in response to the concern that this employee might expose other individuals in the workplace to a designated infectious disease;
  • The employee is providing care or support to individuals because of a matter in a matter related to a designated infectious disease. The list of individuals is very wide, which could include family members such the employee’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, in-laws as well as any person who considers the employee to be like a family member;
  • The employee is directly affected by travel restrictions in connection to a designated infectious disease and thus cannot be reasonably expected to travel back to Ontario;
  • The employee is following a Covid-19 related order issued under section 22 or 35 of the Health Promotion and Protection Act;
  • The employee is subject to an order that related to Covid-19 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to Covid-19) Act, 2020.

Q: How long is an Employee Entitled to the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave?

There is no limit as to the length that an employee can be entitled to for the infectious disease emergency leave. Employees are entitled to take this leave as long as the event that triggers the entitlement to the leave lasts. Once the triggering event is over, the employee needs to go back to work.

Q: What Rights does an Employee Have during the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave?

  • Employees who take this leave are entitled to the same rights enjoyed by the employees who take pregnancy or parental leave.
  • Employers cannot threaten, fire or penalize an employee in any way if an employee is planning to take an infectious disease emergency leave.
  • Employers may require the employee to produce evidence reasonable in the circumstances to prove that they are eligible for this leave. However, during this leave, employers cannot ask for a doctor’s note.

Q: What Benefits does an Employee Have during the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave?

  • Employees are entitled to continue taking part in the benefit plans that their employer offer such as pension plans, life insurance plans, accidental death plans, extended health plans and dental plans.
  • Employees must continue to pay their share of the premiums on these plans. The employer must continue to pay its share of the premiums for any of these above-mentioned plans unless the employee notifies the employer in writing that they will not continue to pay their share.
  • Under this infectious disease emergency leave, the regular rules around constructive dismissal and temporary layoff in the Employment Standards Act are suspended. However, common law rules still apply.

If you need any legal advice in connection to the infectious disease emergency leave, Top Toronto employment lawyer, Stacey ball can advise you on your legal options. Please call us at 416-921-7997, extension 227

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