Personal Emergency Leave vs Family Medical Leave

On November 27, 2017, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act became law, resulting in a number of changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The new rules were in force as of January 2018. Read a complete summary of the changes to the ESA.

Personal Emergency Leave

Most employees have the right to take up to 10 days of job-protected leave each calendar year due to illness, injury, death and certain emergencies and urgent matters. This is known as personal emergency leave. Special rules apply to some occupations.

The personal emergency leave can be because of your needs or the needs of a family member. And you can take up to 10 days even if you started working for your employer partway through the year. If you only take part of a day, your employer can count it as one of your 10 days.

You have the right to be paid for 2 days of personal emergency leave each year if you’ve been working for your employer at least one week. If you take part of a day off as personal emergency leave, your employer still has to pay you for the hours you worked.

Family Medical Leave

Family medical leave is unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 28 weeks in a 52-week period.

All employees, whether full-time, part-time, permanent, or term contract, who are covered by the ESA are entitled to family medical leave.

There is no requirement that an employee be employed for a particular length of time, or that the employer employ a specified number of employees in order for the employee to qualify for family medical leave.

Under the federal Employment Insurance Act, 26 weeks of employment insurance benefits (called “compassionate care benefits“) may be paid to EI eligible employees who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care to a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks and who requires care or support from one or more family members.