Bereavement leave allows employees unpaid time off to deal with the death of a family member, without fear of job loss.
How long can employees be off on bereavement leave?
Under The Employment Standards Code, employees are allowed to take up to three days as bereavement leave to deal with the death of a family member.
Who can take bereavement leave?
Anyone employed for at least 30 days with the same employer is entitled to bereavement leave.
Who decides what type of leave an employee is taking?
Employees must tell their employer what type of leave they are taking. The employer will need enough detail to show that the time off work meets the requirements for the leave.
Do employees need to be paid while on bereavement leave?
No, the legislation only requires an employer to provide time off and allow an employee to return to their job when the leave has ended. Employers are not required to pay wages during the leave. Employers can, and often do, give greater benefits than those provided for in the legislation.
Who are considered family members?
Family is defined very broadly for Employment Standards’ purposes. Children, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, spouses, common law spouses, brothers, sisters, step-brothers, step-sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews are all considered family members. The definition also includes those who are not related, but whom the employee considers to be like a close relative.
What must employees who take bereavement leave tell their employer?Employees must tell their employer, as soon as possible, which days they will need off. Employers can request reasonable verification that the leave is needed.
What is reasonable verification?
Employers can request reasonable verification of the need for the leave. Reasonable verification for bereavement leave might be an obituary from a local newspaper, for example.
Can employees take part of a day as bereavement leave?
When an employee takes part of a day for bereavement leave, the employer may count that as a full day of the leave. Employers do not have to accommodate an employee taking the leave in part days, as long as they allow the employee to take the leave.
Can employees be fired or laid off because they take bereavement leave?
No. Employers cannot terminate or lay off employees because they have taken or are planning to take a leave.
What happens when the leave ends?
Employees must be allowed to return to their job, or a comparable job with the same or greater benefits and pay, when they return from leave. Employers may not discriminate or attempt to punish employees for taking a leave.
Can employers give paid leave or more time off?
Yes. Employers can, and often do, give greater benefits than those provided for in the legislation. Many employers provide more days or will pay employees for their leave.
What happens to pension and other benefits while an employee is on leave?
While employees are on unpaid leave the employment is deemed to be continuous. When employees return from the leave they are still entitled to any benefits they had before the leave, and their years of service include the time away on the leave.
For more information contact Employment Standards:
This is a general overview and the information used is subject to change. For detailed information, please refer to current legislation including The Employment Standards Code and The Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, or contact Employment Standards to ask for advice.
Date Published: May 16, 2013