The Province of Alberta on Paid Leave During COVID-19

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta: Emergency Orders during COVID-19 in Alberta

Life for many Albertans has been very different than what it was compared to a few weeks ago. As we adjust to a new normal – we have seen an increase in paid leave legal inquiries from both employers and employees in Alberta regarding COVID-19. While the Federal Government is making announcements almost weekly on individual welfare and government subsidy programs – we have also seen amendments to the Employment Law Standards Act in light of COVID-19.

It is important to note here that because announcements are made daily – the content prescribed in this article is subjected to change. For more up to date resources on COVID-19 in Alberta – please refer to the Province of Alberta’s resource website on COVID-19 support for employers and employees. Please also remember this blog post is only intended to act as a general overview and does not constitute legal advice. For more specific legal advice regarding your situation please contact one of our Edmonton employment lawyers today for a paid legal consultation.

Amendments to the Employment Standards Code on Paid Leave in Alberta

On March 13, 2020 – Premier Jason Kenney announced changes to the Employment Standards Code (ESC) where amendments were made to prevent employees from having to choose whether they should be working or doing what is necessary to protect the public health. The amendment provides a 14-day period that allows employees to protect their job if an employee is required to self-isolate or if an employee is sick or needs to provide care-giver services to a loved one who has tested positive for COVID-19. Employees will not be required to provide a doctor’s note in a situation like this. This leave allows the Province to mandate the 14-day self isolation period as prescribed by Alberta’s chief medical officer – especially for people who are returning to Canada after traveling abroad. It also prevents doctors’ offices and clinics from being overburdened for doctor’s note requests.

Who is responsible for Paid Leave in Alberta?

At this time, there is still uncertainty as to who will be financially responsible for the paid leave – specifically, whether the Federal Government, Provincial Government, Employment Insurance or individual employers and business owner. We suspect that as time goes on – further amendments may be made depending on the gravity of the COVID-19 situation and whether significant improvements have been made in flattening the curve. While there remain numerous discussions on how the amendments to the ESC does not offer protections for employers and business owners – the Province of Alberta has said they are working towards a solution to address these challenges for employers and business owners. If you are an employer or small business owner – contact our law office today to speak with an employment lawyer on COVID-19 workplace law matters. The same goes if you are an employee and would like more information about your rights as an employee during COVID-19.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Office for a Consultation With An Edmonton Employment Lawyer

Verhaeghe Law Office has recently seen an increase in employment law inquiries. Our Edmonton employment lawyers are on stand-by to offer legal advice on all Alberta related COVID-19 employment law matters whether you are an employee or an employer. Contact us today by calling 587-410-2500 or live chat with us now to book an online consultation.

*Disclaimer: Please note this blog is intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic and does not constitute as legal advice for your specific situation. Every legal situation is different, and we strongly recommend you consult with an employment lawyer in Alberta regarding all employment law matters. You may contact our law offices for legal advice and legal advice can be provided after a client-lawyer relationship has been established contractually.

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