The Government of British Columbia introduced and passed Bill 16–2020: Employment Standards Amendment Act (No. 2) on March 23, 2020 amending the Employment Standards Act to include three days of unpaid leave for personal illness or injury and COVID-19-related leave.
COVID-19-Related Leave entitles employees to unpaid job protected leave in the following circumstances:
- Where an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and acts in accordance with instructions or an order issued by a medical health officer, advice of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse.
- An employee quarantined or self-isolated according to:
a. an order of the provincial health officer;
b. Quarantine Act (Canada) order;
c. British Columbia Centre for Disease Control guidelines;
d. Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines.
- The employer, due to its concerns about the employee’s exposure to others, has directed the employee not to work.
- An employee is providing care to an eligible person as a result of a COVID-19 related issue, including caring for an eligible person due to the closure of a school, daycare or similar facility.
- “Eligible person” is defined as: (a) a child who is under the day-to-day care and control of the employee by way of agreement or court order or because the employee is the child’s parent or guardian; or (b) a person who: (i) is 19 years of age or older, (ii) is unable, because of illness, disability or another reason, to obtain the necessities of life or withdraw from the charge of the person’s parent or former guardian, and (iii) is under the day-to-day care and control of the employee, who is the person’s parent or former guardian.
- An employee is outside the province and cannot return to British Columbia because of travel or border restrictions.
The COVID-19-Related Leave is retroactive to January 27, 2020, and an employee terminated between January 27, 2020 and March 23, 2020, due to the new statutory protections must be offered re-employment in the same or a comparable position. Following reinstatement, the employee’s termination will be deemed to be a leave of absence.
COVID-19-Related Leave is for an unspecified duration, and an employee will be entitled to COVID-19-Related Leave for as long as a circumstance described above applies to the employee.