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Protected Employee Leaves in Canada

The Government of Canada provides a wide range of protected leaves that give employees time off work for a variety of circumstances. These various leaves all have one thing in common; they guarantee the employee will keep his or her job and current pay when returning to work.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is unpaid and taken by mothers either immediately after or near the end of their nine-month pregnancy. This protected leave can last a maximum of 17 weeks and start 17 weeks preceding or after birth. For expecting mothers to qualify, they must have worked for seven consecutive months or more for the same employer. Maternity leaves, like most protected leaves, are unpaid. However, there are many income support programs provided by the federal government that cover different types of leave.

Parental Leave

Parental leave is time given to mothers and fathers to nurture their baby after birth or adoption. It can last up to 37 weeks but also has to be used all at once. Like with maternity leave, employees must have worked for the same employer for a minimum of seven consecutive months to qualify.

Domestic Violence Leave

One of the few protected and paid leaves was most recently put into effect for domestic violence victims in Manitoba. It gives them time off work to specifically address their violent situation at home. Employees who have worked for a company or employer for a minimum of 90 days and are a victim of domestic violence are entitled to this protected leave. They are given a maximum of five days of paid leave every 52-week cycle. The amount the employee receives must be equal to the pay he or she normally would have earned.

Domestic violence leave consists of two parts. The first grants employees 10 intermittent or consecutive days off work, with only five of those days being paid leave, during the period of 52 weeks. If the employee still needs time to deal with the domestic situation or the aftermath of it, there is a second part of domestic violence leave that grants employees a maximum of 17 continuous weeks of unpaid leave during a 52-week period.

Bereavement Leave

If an employee has a death in the family, bereavement leave grants him or her three unpaid days off work to deal with the passing of a loved one. If you have been continuously employed by the same employer for a minimum of three months, then you are entitled to paid bereavement leave for those three days.

Compassionate Care Leave

Compassionate care leave allows employees to take a maximum of 28 weeks off work to support or care for a critically ill member of the family who has a high risk of dying within 26 weeks. To qualify, employees must have worked for the same employer for 90 days. Also, employees are required to provide a doctor’s note indicating the serious medical condition of the family member and his or her high risk of death within the next six months.

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