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The province of Ontario has implemented a temporary three (3) day paid sick leave for workers who are unable to perform their usual duties for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. See below for answers to some of your questions about paid sick leave.

Who is eligible for paid sick leave?

You must be an employee under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”).

This means that if you are an independent contractor, intern, federally regulated employee, volunteer, or another group not included in the ESA, you are not eligible to receive paid sick leave. If you fall under this category, you may be able to access support through the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

If you are an employee under the ESA, you will be eligible for paid sick leave if you are unable to perform your usual duties due to any of the following:

  1. You are going or a COVID-19 test or awaiting results from a test;
  2. You are being treated or observed for reasons related to COVID-19;
  3. You are going to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and/or experiencing side effects from the vaccination;
  4. You are abiding by an order from the Ministry of Health or Ontario Court of Justice relating to COVID-19 protection and prevention;
  5. You are in quarantine or isolation or are subject to a control measure due to COVID-19;
  6. You have been given direction by your employer in response to a concern that you may expose other individuals in the workplace to COVID-19; and/or
  7. You are providing care or support to a family member who is under medical investigation, supervision, isolation, quarantine, or treatment related to COVID-19.

Do I have to give my employer a doctor’s note?

No, your employer does not have the right to ask you for a note from your doctor or another medical professional as a prerequisite for you to receive Infectious Disease Emergency Leave pay.

What if I already get paid sick leave from my employer? Do I get 3 more days?

You will not receive an additional three (3) paid sick days if your employer had previously been provided paid sick leave. However, if your existing paid sick leave is less than 3 paid days, you may access this program to top up your provided leave to a total of 3 days.

Do I have to take all three days at once?

No, you can take them separately or consecutively.

How much will I be paid for the sick days?

You will receive the lesser of either:

  • The normal wages that you would have received for the days that you did not work; and
  • A maximum of $200 per day for up to three (3) days.

What if I work on commission?

If you are an employee who receives performance-related wages (i.e., commissions or a piece work rate) you will receive the lesser of either:

  • Your hourly wage and the minimum amount of commission or tips etc. that you would have received for the time that they were off on leave; and
  • A maximum of $200 per day for up to three (3) days.

How do I get paid?

You will be paid by your employer within the usual payroll schedule.

What if I take a sick day on a holiday?

If one of your sick days is on a holiday, you will receive your regular wages. You will however not be entitled to any premium pay such as overtime.

Can I take partial days off?

If you take a partial day as paid sick leave, your employer may still classify this day as a full day that you have used against the total three paid sick days.

When does paid sick leave begin and end?

Entitlement to be paid infectious disease emergency leave started on April 19, 2021.

If you took unpaid infectious disease emergency leave between April 19, 2021, and April 28, 2021, for a reason related to COVID-19, you can choose to take those days as paid leave instead. To make this decision, employees must advise their employer in writing no later than May 12, 2021.

The current paid sick leave program is a temporary measure and will remain in place until September 25, 2021.

Can I opt-out of paid sick leave?

Yes, you are able to opt-out of paid leave and take unpaid infectious disease emergency leave instead.

If you choose to opt-out, you must advise your employer in writing of their decision before the end of the pay period in that the leave occurs.

If you have questions relating to the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave and/or any form of temporary or permanent leave from your employment such as lay off or termination or how new regulations impact your employment, please contact Toronto employment lawyersSultan Lawyers, at 416-214-5111 or here.