Many restaurants have closed in response to COVID-19. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

Taking time off work due to COVID-19 now falls under medical leave

New measures come after many businesses layoff staff due to impact of coronavirus

Canadians who need to take a leave from work for reasons related to COVID-19 will now be covered under federal medical leave supports.

The change to the Canada Labour Code is part of the federal government’s sweeping measures in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. As of Thursday, March 26, more than 2,800 people in the country have tested positive for the disease.

The amendments to the labour code include up to 16 weeks of leave if related to the disease. Any necessary quarantine now also falls under the medical leave regime.

“If you are in the workplace and have COVID-19, under the Canada Labour Code, this would constitute a workplace hazard. As such, you have a duty to report this hazard to management,” reads the federal government’s website.

“Except in very limited circumstances, such as if a manager questions whether an employee is truly sick, a doctor’s certificate should not be required.”

Meanwhile, leave requests for other reasons related to the coronavirus – such as helping a family member who has tested positive for the disease or having to stay home due to daycare or school closures – are up to management approval.

The federal government suggests that anyone who needs to take this kind of leave should first attempt to make alternative care arrangements or try to work from home. If those aren’t possible, then “other leave with pay,” also known as labour code 699, can be granted.

READ MORE: How organizations, businesses can go digital during the COVID-19 pandemic

The changes come as health officials across the country continue to urge employers of non-essential services to allow their employees to work from home or take other measures to limit the potential for spread of COVID-19, including limiting staff within a single shift.

Still, this advice isn’t being met with open arms by all employers. In Edmonton, a Tim Hortons was under fire this week after an internal note to its staff threatened that they would be fired if they didn’t show up for work.

“For team members who call in sick, I have scheduled for a reason. Therefore, I expect you to show up,” reads the note, which was posted to online forum Reddit.

Other large companies have responded to the pandemic with mass-layoffs. On Wednesday, March 26, Steve Nash Gym laid off roughly 2,000 employees. A number of airlines have also announced widespread layoffs due to travel restrictions curtailing demand.

The restaurant industry, which typically operates on a minimal margin of revenue, has also been hard hit by social contact measures imposed by government officials, forcing some to shutter its doors until further notice or operate on minimal staff.

Those who have been laid off from their jobs have access to $2,000 monthly, for four months, from the federal government.

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils new $2,000 per month benefit to streamline COVID-19 aid


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Northwest Regional Airport says ridership extremely low amid COVID-19

The airport has enacted enhanced sanitary measures and reduced flights

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read