Protected leave and benefits entitlement– an update to the Canada Labour Code

As the global pandemic continues, legislation is being changed to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on workers. The Canada Labour Code (“the Code”) has been updated to reflect your rights to medical leave and continued benefits if you are ill as a result of the virus.

Specifically, section 239 of the Code says that workers are entitled to medical leave of up to 16 weeks “if the reasons for such leave is a result of the coronavirus disease 2019.” Furthermore, it protects the employee’s rights to be advised of training or promotional opportunities as well as protecting their seniority during this leave period.

Section 239 goes on to state that pension, health and disability benefits continue during this leave of absence. It is important to note that in this instance, the worker on leave of absence is fully responsible to pay the employee’s contribution portion within a reasonable time frame.

While section 239 provides protection to employment security and benefits, it does clearly outline the obligations of both the employer and the employee. Should you need to avail yourself of this section, you should read the entire amended section to make sure you know what your responsibilities are. Section 239 of the Code can be found here.


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