submitted by The Employment Standards Branch
An employee is entitled to an unpaid leave of absence if an emergency declared by government prevents an employee from performing work duties. The unpaid leave ends on the day that the emergency ends or the emergency no longer prevents an employee from performing work duties.
An emergency may be one that has been declared under PEI’s Emergency Measures Act or Public Health Act, or under the federal government’s Emergencies Act or Quarantine Act.
An employee is entitled to the unpaid leave when the employee is in quarantine, isolation or self-isolation as a result of information or directions issued to individuals or the public related to a prescribed communicable disease under the Public Health Act, such as COVID-19.
Employers can also direct an employee to take the leave if they have a concern that the employee may have contracted a communicable disease such as COVID-19 and are concerned that the employee may expose other persons in the workplace to the disease.
An employee is also entitled to the unpaid leave to care for a family member if certain criteria are met. A family member is considered part of the employee’s immediate or extended family; a niece, nephew, foster parent, ward or guardian of the employee; or someone who the employee considers to be like a family member.
An employee must give the employer as much notice as is reasonably possible before taking the leave, or as soon as possible if the employee must leave before giving notice. Upon the employer’s request, an employee must provide reasonable evidence within a reasonable time for the need to take the leave, but an employee is not required to provide a medical note as evidence for the leave.
An employee who returns to work following the end of the unpaid leave must be accepted back into the same position or a comparable one with not less than the same wages and benefits.
This article provides only general information. Details of the Prince Edward Island Employment Standards Act and Regulations can be obtained by contacting the Employment Standards Branch at 902-368-5550 (toll free at 800-333-4362)
Visit www.peiemploymentstandards.com for more information. The Branch is located in the Sherwood Business Centre, 2nd floor, 161 St. Peter’s Road, Charlottetown.