Leaves of Absence

Employers and employees in Ontario familiar with labor laws and standards are aware that employees can request legally protected leaves of absence. In Ontario, as in other Canadian provinces, federal and provincial standards regulate leaves of absence. Ontario’s laws authorize leaves of absence and protect the job security of employees who take them. Its legal provisions ensure that employees can attend to personal matters without fearing the loss of their positions.  

Whether you’re an employee in Ontario looking to stand up for your rights or an employer aiming to follow the law regarding leave of absence, our services include expert guidance, personalized strategies, and effective negotiation methods to assist you. 

What are Leaves of Absence?

Leaves of absence are decisions made by employees to be away from work for a certain period of time. Employers are obligated by federal and provincial laws to approve such requests. Employees who have been granted an authorized leave of absence will be away from work, but they will retain their employment status.  

Why Employees Take Leaves of Absence? 

Employees take leaves of absence due to family and personal issues, such as medical treatments, maternity or paternity, the treatment of their own or their family members’ illnesses, military leave, or pursuing education. Leaves of absence regulated by the province of Ontario have a variety of conditions, depending on the type of leave, and employees pursue them to retain their jobs while they are absent from work. In most cases, employees on leave continue to receive certain benefits for themselves and their families, such as health insurance and retirement contributions, ensuring their financial stability during their absence. 

Which Standards Regulate Leaves of Absence in Ontario? 

Leaves of absence are governed in the province of Ontario by the Employment Standards Act (ESA, 2000), while the Canada Labour Code regulates leaves of absence in federally regulated workplaces. The objective of Ontario’s ESA is to “provide qualified employees with the right to take job-protected leaves.” In Part XIV, “Leaves of absence provisions,” it outlines the rights and obligations of employees and employers concerning leaves of absence. However, the characteristics of leaves of absence, as outlined by the province, are intended to protect both employees and employers. 

Types of Leaves of Absence in Ontario 

According to the Employment Standards Act (and similar laws), employees have the right to take time off work for the following reasons: 

  • Pregnancy Leave 
  • Parental Leave 
  • Family Medical Leave 
  • Organ Donor Leave 
  • Family Caregiver Leave 
  • Critical Illness Leave 
  • Child Death Leave 
  • Crime-Related Child Disappearance Leave 
  • Sick Leave 
  • Family Responsibility Leave 
  • Bereavement Leave 
  • Infectious Disease Emergencies Leave 
  • Reservist Leave 

Characteristics of Protected Leaves of Absence in Ontario

Conditions of leaves of absence 

While the ESA does not provide paid leaves of absence, leaves of absence may be paid or unpaid in Ontario depending on the employment contract. The conditions and entitlement of Ontario’s leaves of absence differ based on the type of leave. The justification for a Reservist Leave is legally distinct from the justification for a Family Responsibility Leave. Requirements such as duration, eligibility criteria, documentation, and request procedures change depending on the type of leave. 

The conditions of the types of leave also vary. For instance, the maximum length of a leave of absence varies depending on the type of leave. However, there are similarities. The leave period will be used to calculate the length of employment, service, and seniority of the employee. Likewise, all types of leave guarantee the same rights in a similar way. 

Returning After a Leave of Absence: Obligations and Rights 

The ESA establishes that, upon returning, the employer must reinstate the employee to the position they held at the beginning of the leave. If their previous position no longer exists, they should be reinstated to a similar one. This legal protection encompasses not only the right to hold the same position at the same or a higher wage but also provisions related to the job’s location, working hours, quality of the work environment, level of responsibility, job security, potential for advancement, and benefits. According to federal and provincial standards and laws, an employee cannot be penalized for requesting a leave of absence. 

Leaves of Absence: How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help

Understanding the significance of requesting a leave of absence is straightforward, yet grappling with its legal intricacies can be daunting for both employees and employers. 

At Roberts & Obradovic Law we’re here to simplify the process. Our team specializes in employment laws and holds an in-depth understanding of the nuances tied to requesting leaves of absence in Ontario. We’re dedicated to offering comprehensive guidance to both employees and employers, ensuring that they’re well-versed in their rights and obligations. This empowers them to adeptly manage any challenges that may arise within the realm of a leave of absence. 

With our legal guidance, you can engage in more effective negotiations, leveraging legal safeguards to your advantage. Whether you’re an employee looking to uphold your rights or an employer striving to meet legal obligations while ensuring uninterrupted business operations, our experienced lawyers are ready to assist you. 

We provide assistance for a range of scenarios, including: 

  • Understanding leave of absence regulations, conditions, and procedures 
  • Addressing potential issues and handling them effectively 
  • Navigating the complexity of leaves of absence and devising strategic solutions 
  • Our commitment extends to ensuring fairness and equitability in leaves of absence, benefiting both employees and employers. 

If you’re uncertain about eligibility, facing challenges with your leave request, or simply seeking professional advice, our team is here to help. Reach out to us today at (647) 724-5179 or use our convenient online form to schedule a consultation. 

Experience peace of mind as you navigate the landscape of leaves of absence, backed by the expertise of Roberts & Obradovic Employment Lawyers.