Client Update: New Forms of Unpaid Leave under Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Standards Act

What’s new?

Our employer clients will be familiar with the Labour Standards Act, which sets out the employment standards applicable in Newfoundland and Labrador. Two amendments were made to the legislation this week, both of which came into effect on December 10, 2013. These establish new categories of unpaid leave from employment for an employee:

  • Whose child has disappeared or died as a result of a crime.
  • Whose child is critically ill.

How does an employee qualify for these leaves and how much leave is available?
If an employee has been working with the employer for at least 30 days, they may take an unpaid leave of absence for:

  • Up to 104 weeks if an employee’s child has died, or up to 52 weeks if the employee’s child has disappeared, and it is probable in the circumstances that the death or disappearance was the result of a crime. There is an exception to this rule if the employee is the person charged with the crime.
  • Up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave to the employee parent or guardian of a child who is critically ill (as certified by a physician).

Employer obligations during and after the leave
During these new leaves, the employer is prohibited from dismissing the employee for reasons relating to the leave. If the employee is terminated during the leave, the employer bears a higher responsibility to demonstrate that it was unrelated to the unpaid leave. Employers must provide equivalent, or better, terms and conditions of employment upon the employee’s return to work.

Can the new leaves be combined with other leaves?
These new forms of employee leave are in addition to previously existing compassionate care leave, which provides for up to eight weeks of unpaid leave where a family member is terminally ill and has a significant risk of death in the short term. The death of an employee’s child will likely also entitle that person to bereavement leave in accordance with the other relevant provisions of the Act.

What can an employer require from an employee asking for leave?
The employee is required to provide two weeks’ notice of his or her intent to take leave, unless there is a valid reason why that notice cannot be given. Employers may also seek verification that the employee is entitled to leave. In the case of critical illness leave, the Act expressly contemplates a physician’s certification of the need for, and duration of, the leave. The total length of the new types of unpaid leave is always limited to what is “reasonably necessary in the circumstances”.

What does “reasonably necessary in the circumstances” mean?
The new provisions require employers to make judgment calls as to what is reasonable, or where the employee is entitled to leave. For instance, trial and conviction for a violent crime that may have resulted in a child’s death will usually not take place for some time after the death or disappearance itself. However, if a criminal investigation results and/or if charges are laid in connection with a child’s death or disappearance, an employee may well be entitled to take unpaid leave.

The foregoing is intended for general information only. We are always available to assist you in the event that one of your employees makes a request for leave under these, or any, provisions of the Act.

SHARE

Archive

Search Archive


Generic filters
Filter by Custom Post Type

 
 

Caution – Reform ahead for Newfoundland and Labrador automobile insurance

April 18, 2019

Rodney Zdebiak and Anthony Granville On Monday, April 15, 2019, the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature passed a number of changes to the Automobile Insurance Act (“Act”) stating that the intent is to help stabilize insurance rates,…

Read More

The Ocean Supercluster – Navigating Innovation Together

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs The Canadian government has placed itself in the “global innovation race”. In response to the demands for innovation, the Canadian government has established the Innovation Superclusters Initiative which…

Read More

No Compass Needed – Ocean Supercluster Activities Explained

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is a co-investment initiative between Canada’s federal government and the private sector that is part of the Innovation Superclusters Initiative. As we wrote about in…

Read More

Mapping Out Your Plan for a Technology Leadership Project in the Ocean Supercluster

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs As we discuss in our article, No compass needed – Ocean Supercluster activities explained, there are many ways to participate in the Ocean Supercluster and the Innovation Superclusters…

Read More

Project Eligibility in the Ocean Supercluster – Making Sure Your Proposal Can Set Sail

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs Technology Leadership Projects are collaborative projects undertaken by the Ocean Supercluster led by industry members in which industry members and the Ocean Supercluster will co-invest to perform research,…

Read More

Employer or employee: who owns social media accounts or contacts?

April 4, 2019

Grant Machum and Richard Jordan Employers carefully safeguard customer or client lists as confidential information. Gone are the days, however, where an employer’s customer list is only found in a Rolodex or in a closed…

Read More

Paper light employment files

March 28, 2019

Grant Machum and Guy-Etienne Richard Maintaining employment files requires physical space and can be costly. Nowadays many employers are moving away from keeping paper files to electronic storage. This brings up two issues: Are employers…

Read More

Nova Scotia announces changes to defined benefit pension funding

March 13, 2019

Level Chan and Dante Manna On March 12, 2019, the Nova Scotia legislature introduced long anticipated amendments to the Pension Benefits Act (“PBA”) which, according to a statement by Finance Minister Karen Casey, are aimed…

Read More

Supreme Court rules bankrupt companies cannot walk away from their environmental liabilities in Redwater decision

March 6, 2019

Julia Parent and Graham Haynes In the long-awaited decision in the case of Orphan Well Association v Grant Thornton Ltd, the Supreme Court of Canada held that end-of-life environmental cleanup obligations imposed by Alberta’s provincial…

Read More

Richards Estate sets the limits on actions against LTD insurers

March 6, 2019

Michelle Chai & Jennifer Taylor Justice Ann Smith of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia recently dismissed an action against a disability insurer for being out of time. The case, Richards Estate v Industrial Alliance…

Read More

Search Archive


Generic filters
Filter by Custom Post Type