New 14-Day leave for Alberta employees affected by COVID-19

16 March 2020

A new job protected leave was announced by the Alberta government on March 13, 2020. The general details are as follows:

  • Under the Employment Standards Code (Alberta), employees will be entitled to take a leave of 14 days where they are required to self-isolate or are caring for a family member infected with COVID-19;
  • No doctor's note will be required; and
  • Employees will not be required to have worked for their employer for 90 days prior to taking the leave.

Initially it was announced that this leave would be paid. However, new regulations adopted on March 17, 2020 confirm that the leave is unpaid, although employees may be eligible to receive EI during the quarantine period under the federal government's new Emergency Care Benefit. The regulations also provide, among other things, that the length of the leave could be increased and that its application is retroactive to March 5, 2020, meaning it will apply to leaves taken since such date.

The Alberta Government also announced on March 15, 2020 that all schools, post-secondary institutions and daycares will be closed due to the threat of COVID-19. Similar actions have been taken by provincial governments across Canada. This will create challenges for employers across the province, including how employment relationships are managed going forward. Such challenges are likely to continue for the foreseeable future given the pace at which new developments are occurring.  

COVID-19 is creating unique issues and triggering many responsibilities for employers on a daily basis. The situation remains in flux and we continue to monitor developments closely. To learn more about workplace policies on communicable illnesses and handling COVID-19 in your workplace, please contact a member of Gowling WLG's Employment, Labour & Equalities Group.


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