Almost everyone employed in the private sector during these challenging times is likely to have concerns about their job security. There is a lot of information circulating about the opportunities for relief that are available if COVID-19 related factors cause you to lose your employment temporarily or long term. At Lift Legal, we are here to help you understand these opportunities and access them.
Further, it is always recommended that an employee seek legal assistance in reviewing severance or layoff offers as well as any rehire provisions under employee welfare benefit plans. Specific workforces such as health care settings will require special consideration that Lift Legal is capable of addressing.
Changes to Employment Insurance (EI) for employee’s self isolating or in quarantine
- The one week waiting period for EI benefits will not be imposed for at least the next six months.
- Employees are no longer required to provide a medical certificate to receive benefits from EI sickness.
- An employee who cannot work due to COVID-19 can now receive up to 15 weeks of support.
Job protected leave
- Provides 14 days of protected leave under the Employment Standards Code for individuals who must self-isolate or care for someone who is self-isolating. The 14-day period may be extended based on the advice of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer. Contact Lift Legal as we are happy to provide guidance based on the most current information accessible.
- Full or part-time employees are eligible regardless of the length of time previously worked for the employer.
- Employees are not required to provide a medical note to be eligible for job protected leave.
Other available leaves for self-isolating employees
Employees may request vacation pay or banked overtime. It is important to note that employers are only legally obligated to provide this within one year of it being earned and may refuse the request. Employers may also request that employees use vacation pay, banked overtime or take vacation leave. However, as an employee you are not obligated to do so under provincial employment laws.
Emergency Care Benefit
- $10 billion national income support plan.
- Employees may receive up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for those without access to sick leave that are required to remain home.
- This is available to employees who are:
- Self-employed, quarantined or self-isolating and do not qualify for EI.
- Sick or caring for a dependent (such as a sick family member) with COVID-19 and do not qualify for EI.
- Emergency Support Benefit
- $5 billion national plan to support workers that are unemployed but not eligible for EI.
- Delivered through the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).
Know your Rights
Employers are obligated to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of employees. Occupational Health and Safety Legislation affords employees the benefit to refuse work when there is a reasonable belief of a dangerous condition at the worksite. Additionally, employers must administer COVID-19 responses in a non-discriminatory manner.
At Lift Legal we have extensive employment experience and up to date information about new resources provided by the Canadian and Alberta governments so that we can find solutions tailored to the needs of each employee.