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The Ontario Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”) changed significantly in January 2018. The most talked about change has been an increase in minimum wage, however there are a few other notable changes workers and employer should know about. This week, we tackle time off: vacation, sick days and personal days (a.k.a personal emergency leave)!

2019 NOTE: RECENT AMENDMENTS HAVE REVERSED MANY 2018 ESA AMENDMENTS. CONSULT THE CURRENT ESA OR AN EMPLOYMENT LAWYER TO ENSURE YOU HAVE CURRENT INFORMATION ABOUT THE LAW.

VACATION

Changes have been made to both vacation time and vacation pay rules in Ontario. If you have worked for your employer for 5 years or more you are entitled to a minimum of 3 weeks vacation time and a minimum 6% vacation pay. Employees with less than 5 years’ service continue to be entitled to a minimum 2 weeks vacation and 4% vacation pay.

PERSONAL EMERGENCY LEAVE

Another notable change deals with personal emergency leave. Personal emergency leave can be used for illness, illness or death in the family, or an urgent matter such as your babysitter calling in sick.  Employers now have to provide a minimum of 10 days of personal emergency leave per year – and pay a minimum of 2 emergency leave days. In a big shift, the new law generally bars your employer from requesting a doctor’s note before granting these days.

YOUR CONTRACT

You might be entitled to more vacation time and/or vacation pay or emergency leave under your employment contract, your collective agreement or your employer’s policies. If your contract provides you less vacation time or leave than guaranteed by the ESA, your employer still has to meet the new minimum standards. For a reminder about things to look for in employment contracts check out our blog post on taking a new job.

MORE INFORMATION?

For more information on leaves of absence, vacation pay & vacation time please check out the Employment Standards Act located online at https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0

For more information on lesser-known changes to the ESA, see our blog post on maternity leave and parental leave changes.

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