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Your rights at work

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Do I get time off for illness or other emergencies?

The ESA calls time off for illness and other personal emergencies personal emergency leave. You can take up to 10 days off each year as personal emergency leave. This can be because of your needs or the needs of a family member.

Family member includes a common-law or same-sex partner. And you can take up to 10 days even if you started working for your employer partway through the year.

For example, if you start work on September 1, you can take up to 10 days personal emergency leave between September 1 and December 31. And in the following year, you can take up to 10 days personal emergency leave between January 1 and December 31.

If you only take part of a day, your employer can count it as one of your 10 days. For example, if you go to work and leave early because you are sick, your employer can count this as one of your 10 days of personal emergency leave for the year.

The ESA gives you the right to be paid for 2 days of personal emergency leave each year if you have been working for your employer at least one week.

You are supposed to tell your employer as soon as you know you need personal emergency leave. Your employer can ask you for proof that is "reasonable in the circumstances". But your employer is not allowed to ask for a medical note from a doctor, registered nurse, or psychologist.

Domestic or sexual violence leave

You may be able to take a leave if you or your child who is under 18 years of age has:

  • experienced domestic or sexual violence
  • been threatened with domestic or sexual violence

To get domestic or sexual violence leave, you must have worked for your employer for at least 13 weeks in a row.

Each calendar year, you may be able to take:

  • up to 10 days, and
  • up to 15 weeks.

You can take domestic or sexual violence leave only for the following reasons:

  • to get medical care because of an injury or disability caused by the violence
  • to get help from a victim services organization
  • to get psychological or other professional counselling
  • to move, permanently or for a short time
  • to deal with the police or the legal system because of the violence

You have the right to be paid for the first 5 days of domestic or sexual violence leave each year.

Your employer can ask you for proof that you need the leave but only for proof that is "reasonable in the circumstances".