Bill 148: Paid Emergency Leave (Sick Leave)

As part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act2017, changes related to sick leave have impacted employers in Ontario. The labour laws cover:

  • Personal Emergency Leave
  • Critical Illness Leave
  • Family Medical Leave

These leaves of absence introduced an increase to the amount of entitlement and pay that your employees get.

Furthermore, on November 21, 2018, the Ontario Provincial Government passed Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. This Bill will repeal sections of the previous government’s the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (known as Bill 148). As part of this repeal, employers will no longer need to give employees two paid sick days. The Act will come into force on January 1, 2019. For more information on this Act, please visit Bill 47.

Do you know what your obligations are? Here are some important need-to-know’s about sick leave entitlement and pay, under Bill 148.

Employers have an obligation to provide up to 10 sick leave days per year.

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) sets the labour laws for sick leave under personal emergency leave. As part of Bill 148, employers must provide all employees a minimum of 10 days off for personal emergencies, per calendar year. This type of leave is provided for employees who:

  • Need a sick day;
  • Have an injury or medical emergency; or
  • Require time off for death, illness, injury, or medical emergency related to a family member.

Bill 148 changed these standards to include businesses of all sizes.

Paid Emergency Leave

Under Bill 148, the first two days of personal emergency leave must be paid. This is applicable to all employees who have been employed for at least one week.

Critical Illness Leave

Employers must provide employees with time off to support or provide care to a critically ill child or adult family member. Under Bill 148, critical illness leave allows an employee to take unpaid, job-protected time off of up to 17 weeks to care for an adult family member and 37 weeks for a child who is a family member, within a 52-week period. This type of leave is available to employees who have worked for a minimum of six consecutive months, regardless of their employment status (i.e. part-time, full-time, etc.).

Employer Inquiries and Medical Notes

As an employer, you can no longer ask for medical notes from employees who take a personal emergency leave. In addition, you cannot ask for details about the treatment of an employee’s medical condition or of their family members’.

Sick leave questions?

If you have questions about sick leave pay or feel uncertain about Ontario’s labour laws, ask Employer Line. In addition to sick leave, Bill 148 brings changes that have a great impact on how businesses operate. Call our 24/7 employer helpline today at 1(833) 247-3650 to speak with our HR experts.