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Providing paid and unpaid leave from work in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Standards Act requires employers to grant periods of leave in certain situations. The leaves may be paid or unpaid, and employees may have to meet certain criteria to qualify for the leave. 

Listed here are the most common types of leave from work and what your responsibilities to your employees are as an employer. 

 

Pregnancy Leave

In order to qualify for pregnancy leave, an employee must have been employed by the same employer for at least 20 consecutive weeks.  The employee must give at least 2 weeks written notice of their intention to take pregnancy leave along with a letter from a medical practitioner stating the estimated birth date. The leave can be up to 17 weeks unpaid. This leave is often followed immediately by parental leave. 

Note:

  • Pregnancy Leave may start no earlier than 17 weeks before the expected birth date.
  • 4 weeks written notice is required if the employee plans to return to work earlier than the maximum time allowed for pregnancy leave or if they do not intend to take parental leave.
  • Periods of time spent on unpaid leave are considered “time out” when it comes to accumulating vacation time, notice of termination of employment, etc.
  • Upon return to work, the employee should be placed in the same or similar position with the same duties, benefits and wages they had prior to Pregnancy Leave. 
Parental Leave

Parental leave often follows maternity leave, but can be taken by either the mother or father. The employee must have been employed by the same employer for at least 20 consecutive weeks and be the parent of a child. The employee must give at least 2 weeks written notice of the date the leave is to begin. This leave can be up to 61 weeks unpaid. 

Note:

  • Parental Leave must start within 35 weeks of the birth of the child or when the child comes into the custody and care of the parent for the first time. If Pregnancy Leave was taken then Parental Leave must begin when the Pregnancy Leave ends unless the child has not come into the care of the parent for the first time.
  • 4 weeks written notice is required if the employee plans to return to work before the end of the 61 weeks.
  • Periods of time spent on Parental Leave are considered “time out” when it comes to accumulating vacation time, notice of termination of employment, etc.
  • Upon return to work, the employee should be placed in the same or similar position with the same duties, benefits and wages they had prior to Parental Leave. 
Adoption Leave

Adoption leave is available for parents that adopt a child. The employee must have been employed by the same employer for at least 20 consecutive weeks. Like maternity and parental leave, the employee must give 2 weeks written notice; or if the child comes into their custody sooner than expected, written notice of having taken Adoption Leave within two weeks of having stopped work.  Adoption leave is up to 17 weeks unpaid leave.  Adoptive parents are also eligible for 35 weeks Parental Leave. 

Note:

  • 4 weeks written notice is required of the date the employee will be returning to work.
  • Periods of time spent on Adoption Leave are considered “time out” when it comes to accumulating vacation time, notice of termination of employment, etc.
  • Upon return to work, the employee should be placed in the same or similar position with the same duties, benefits and wages they had prior to Adoption Leave. 
Bereavement Leave

Bereavement Leave must be provided in the event of the death of the spouse, a child, a grandchild, the mother or father, a brother or sister, a grandparent or a mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law or brother-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, of the employee.

  • Employee must have been employed with the same employer for a continuous period of at least 30 days.
  • Employee is entitled to 3 days Bereavement Leave consisting of 1 day paid leave and 2 days unpaid leave.
  • If an employee has been employed for less than 30 days, then the employee is entitled to two days of unpaid leave.
  • An employer shall not dismiss an employee or give a notice of dismissal to an employee because he/she is off on Bereavement Leave. 
Sick/Family Responsibility Leave
  • Employees are entitled to 7 days unpaid Sick or Family Responsibility Leave in a year
  • Employee must have been employed with the same employer for at least 30 continuous days
  • The employee must provide a note to his employer signed by a qualified medical practitioner if on sick leave for 3 consecutive days or more.
  • The employee must provide a written statement outlining the nature of the family responsibility leave if absent for 3 consecutive days or more.  
Compassionate Care Leave

Employee may take up to 28 weeks of unpaid leave to provide care to a family member who has a serious medical condition and a significant risk of death within a specified 52 week period. Leave may be broken up but must be taken in minimum blocks of one week. 

  • Employee must be employed under provincial jurisdiction and with the same employer for at least 30 days.
  • An employee may take compassionate leave to care for any of the following family members of the employee or their spouse:
    • child or step child
    • spouse or co-habiting partner
    • parent or step-parent
    • siblings or step-siblings
    • grandparents or step-grandparents
    • grandchildren and their spouse or common-law partner
    • “in-laws” (including father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister) either married or common-law
    • aunts, uncles, nephews/nieces and their spouses or common-law partners
    • current or former wards
    • current or former guardians and their spouse or common-law partner.
  • An employee must give at least 2 weeks written notice prior to taking the leave or when there are any changes intended to the length of the leave.
  • A medical certificate from a legally qualified medical practitioner should be provided.