ONTARIO GOVERNMENT EXTENDS INFECTIOUS DISEASE EMERGENCY LEAVE

On September 3, 2020, the government of Ontario extended the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave regulation to January 2, 2021. The regulation, first introduced in May, provides job protection for employees impacted by COVID-19. Similar to other emergency leaves, employers are required to continue providing benefits, including pension contributions, unless the employee elects in writing not to do so. The leave entitlements are retroactive to January 25, 2020 and provide the following:

During the COVID-19 period, March 1, 2020 to January 21, 2021:
– A non-unionized employee whose employer has temporarily reduced or eliminated their hours of work for reasons related to COVID-19 is deemed to be on a job-protected infectious disease emergency leave.
– A non-unionized employee is not considered to be laid off if their employer temporarily reduces or eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.
– A non-unionized employee is not considered to be constructively dismissed under the Employment Standards Act if their employer temporarily reduces or eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.
Employees can take infectious disease emergency leave if they will not be performing the duties of their position because of any of the following reasons:
– The employee is under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment;
– The employee is subject to an order of a medical officer of health or a court under the HPPA;
– The employee is in quarantine or isolation or subject to a control measure, including self-isolation that is undertaken because of information or directions issued by a public health official, qualified health practitioner, Telehealth Ontario, the government of Ontario or Canada, a municipal council or a board of health;
– The employer directs the employee to stay at home because of concerns that the employee might expose others in the workplace to the designated infectious disease;
– The employee is providing care to any of the specified individuals listed, including because of closures of schools and daycares;
– The employee is directly affected by travel restrictions preventing the employee from returning to Ontario.