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PEI leaves of absence: Paid and unpaid

The Prince Edward Island Employment Standards Act requires employers to grant periods of leave. Some of these leaves are unpaid and some are paid.

Some leaves require an employee to have worked for a specified period of time to qualify for leave. Listed here are the most common types of leave from work and what your responsibilities to your employees are as an employer.

Maternity, Parental and Adoption Leave

In order to qualify for leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, the employee must have been employed with the same employer for any 20 weeks in the previous 52 weeks of their leave.

The employee must give the employer at least four weeks’ notice of both the date on which leave the will start and the date on which they intend to return to work.

How much leave are employees eligible for?

  • The total combined maternity and parental leave for a mother cannot exceed 78 weeks and must be taken consecutively.
  • The maximum parental leave for a father is 62 weeks.

Maternity Leave: A pregnant employee is eligible for up to 17 weeks unpaid leave of absence which can start as early as 13 weeks prior to the expected date of delivery.

Parental Leave: An employee is eligible for up to 62 weeks unpaid leave to care for a newborn.

Adoption Leave: An employee is eligible for up to 62 weeks leave to care for an adopted child. Combined adoption leave for both parents cannot exceed 62 weeks and must be taken within 12 months of a child’s arrival in the home.

Please note:

  • If the employee’s child has a physical, psychological or emotional condition that requires additional parental care, it is possible to extend the leave for an additional five consecutive weeks. This additional leave must begin immediately following the end of the maternity, parental or adoption leave.
  • 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.
  • An employee does not earn vacation leave while they are on pregnancy leave


Bereavement Leave

In the event of the death of an immediate family member, an employee is entitled to one day paid bereavement leave and up to two days unpaid bereavement leave.

Immediate family includes:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Brother or sister of the employee

In the event of the death of a member of the employee's extended family, an employee is entitled to three days unpaid bereavement leave.

Extended family includes:

  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Brother-in-law or sister-in-law
  • Mother-in-law or father-in-law
  • Son-in-law or daughter-in-law
  • Aunt or uncle of the employee

Please Note:

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 Leave

An employee who has been with an employer for at least 3 consecutive months is entitled to unpaid leaves of absence of up to three days for sick leave during a twelve-month period. If the employee takes three consecutive days, the employer may ask for a medical certificate.

Employees who have more than five years of continuous service with the same employer are entitled to one day of paid sick leave and up to three days of unpaid sick leave each calendar year.

Family Responsibility Leave

An employee with six months of continuous service with the same employer can take unpaid leaves of absence up to three days during a twelve-month period to meet immediate and extended family responsibilities.

Immediate family member:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Brother or sister

Extended family member:

  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Aunt/uncle
  • Brother-in-law/sister-in-law
  • Mother-in-law/father-in-law
  • Son-in-law/daughter-in-law
Compassionate Care Leave

An employee may take up to 28 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a seriously ill family member who has a high risk of dying within 26 weeks.

Family includes:

  • spouse/common-law spouse
  • child
  • parent
  • brother/sister
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law
  • aunt, uncle, niece, nephew
  • foster parent, ward or guardian
  • or any other person who the employee considers to be like a person described as family

An employer can ask an employee to provide a medical certificate, from a medical doctor, stating that the employee’s family member is seriously ill.

Leaves are often accompanied by sensitive situations. When an employee comes to you to discuss a leave, please give us a call. For any questions or concerns about employment leaves, please contact your Business Counsellor at [email protected] or 1 888 234-2232.