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Personal emergency leave

Sometimes unexpected events keep you from attending work as you normally would. In these circumstances, you may be eligible for emergency time off. You can find out more about your rights in this section.


Table of Contents
  1. What is personal emergency leave?
  2. Is personal emergency leave the same as family medical leave?
  3. Am I entitled to personal emergency leave?
  4. When would I be entitled?
  5. Do I have to give notice to take personal emergency leave?
  6. How long can personal emergency leave last?
  7. What if I only need to take part of a day off?
  8. What are my rights during a personal emergency leave?
  9. What if I think my employer is not following the ESA?
  10. Can I see the ESA?

What is personal emergency leave? Top

Personal emergency leave is unpaid, job-protected leave of up to ten days each calendar year. It may be taken in the case of personal illness, injury, or medical emergency and the death, illness, injury, medical emergency of or urgent matter relating to certain family members and dependent relatives.

Is personal emergency leave the same as family medical leave? Top

No, family medical leave is an unpaid job-protected leave of up to eight (8) weeks in a 26-week period, to provide care and support to certain family members and to persons who consider the employee to be like a family member. It may only be taken if a qualified medical health practitioner has issued a certificate stating the person has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring with a period of 26 weeks.

An employee may be entitled to both personal emergency leave and family medical leave. They are separate leaves and the right to one leave is independent of the right to the other. An employee who qualifies for both leaves would be entitled to both leaves.

Am I entitled to personal emergency leave? Top

If you work for an employer that regularly employs at least 50 employees, you are entitled to personal emergency leave.

When would I be entitled? Top

If you are eligible for personal emergency leave, you can take up to ten days a year of unpaid leave of absence for:

  • personal illness, injury or medical emergency
  • death, illness, injury, medical emergency of or urgent matter relating to:
    • your spouse (includes a same-sex spouse)
    • a parent, step-parent or foster parent of yours or your spouse
    • a child, step-child or foster child of yours or your spouse
    • a grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of yours or your spouse
    • the spouse of your child
    • your brother or sister
    • a relative who is dependent on you for care or assistance.
Do I have to give notice to take personal emergency leave? Top

You must inform your employer that you will be taking a personal emergency leave of absence. If you have to begin personal emergency leave before you can notify your employer, then you must tell your employer as soon as possible after starting the leave.

How long can personal emergency leave last? Top

An employee may take up to ten days' personal emergency leave in a calendar year. These days don't have to be taken consecutively.

What if I only need to take part of a day off? Top

If you take only part of a day as personal emergency leave, your employer can count it as a full day of leave. However, you are still paid for any time you actually work.

Here's an example:

Kevin's mother is sick and the doctor has scheduled some tests at the hospital. Kevin tells his employer that he has to be away from work for the afternoon to take his mother for the tests. Kevin takes the afternoon as a personal emergency leave of absence.

Although Kevin only needs half of the day, the employer can count the absence as a full day of leave.

Kevin will still be paid for the time he worked that morning.

What are my rights during a personal emergency leave? Top

Although personal emergency leave days are unpaid, you are entitled to:

  • continue to earn seniority
  • continue to earn credit for length of service and length of employment
  • the continuation of benefits. Your employer must continue to pay the employer's share of the premiums for certain benefit plans (i.e., pension plans, life insurance, accidental death, extended health insurance and dental plans).

You cannot be penalized for taking, or planning to take, personal emergency leave. See Reprisals

What if I think my employer is not following the ESA? Top

What if I think my employer is not following the ESA?

Can I see the ESA? Top

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Resources: Top

Government:
Ontario Ministry of Labour
Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000: Personal Emergency Leave



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