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Providing paid and unpaid leave from work in New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Employment Standards Act requires employers to grant periods of leave to employees 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.
In New Brunswick:

  • An employee may not be dismissed from his or her job while on a leave of absence for any reason arising from, or due to, the leave.
  • An employee continues to accumulate seniority during a leave of absence.
  • The employee must be allowed to return to the job he or she held immediately before taking the leave or to a comparable job with no decrease in benefits or pay.
  • Close family relationship is defined as the relationship between persons who are:
    • married to one another
    • parents and child
    • siblings
    • grandparents and the grandchildren
    • in a relationship though not married to one another and whether or not a blood relationship exists, demonstrate an intention to extend to one another the mutual affection and support normally associated with those relationships first mentioned.
       
Maternity Leave
  • Maternity leave is 17 weeks of duration and may start no earlier than 13 weeks before the expected birth date.
  • An employee should notify an employer of her intention to take maternity leave at least 4 months before the expected due date.
  • Maternity leave can be combined consecutively with Child Care Leave up to a maximum of 78 weeks leave.
  • An employer may require a pregnant employee to begin a leave of absence without pay when she can no longer reasonably perform her duties as a result of her pregnancy.
  • Any employer imposed leave of absence would be in addition to any maternity leave the employee is entitled to under the Employment Standards Act. Therefore, the maternity leave is not affected by the employer imposed leave.
Child Care Leave
  • Child care leave is a maximum of 62 weeks and can be taken by all parents natural or adoptive.
  • Leave cannot start any sooner than the birth of the child or on the day the adoptive child comes into care.
  • Leave can be split between parents but can only equal 62 weeks total.
  • Employees intending to take Child care leave are required to let the employer know 4 weeks of notice in the absence of an emergency for a natural birth and 4 months notice for an adoptive birth when possible.

The maximum combined total of maternity and child care leave is 78 weeks total.

Family Responsibility Leave

Family responsibility leave gives employees time off to deal with the health, care or education needs of a person in a close family relationship.
Employers are required to give employees, upon request, leaves of absence without pay for up to three days per year.

Bereavement Leave

In the event of the death of a person in a close family relationship, an employer must give an employee a leave of absence without pay of up to five consecutive days. Bereavement leave is to begin no later than the day of the funeral.

Sick Leave
  • Employees that have worked for the same employer for more than 90 days is entitled to take sick leave.
  • Employee can take up to five unpaid sick days per 12 month period.
  • The employee must provide a note to his employer signed by a qualified medical practitioner if on sick leave for 4 consecutive days or more.
Compassionate Care Leave
  • The employee must have a written note from a certified medical practitioner stating that a person in a close family relationship has a serious medical condition that carries a significant risk of death within the next twenty eight weeks and requires care and support.
  • Should the person in a close family relationship die, the compassionate care leave expires and bereavement leave may then be taken by the employee.
  • The leave of absence may be broken up over the 28-week period, and may only be taken in periods of at least a one-week duration
  • The twenty eight weeks of leave may be shared by two or more employees, but the total leave period taken by the employees may not exceed twenty eight weeks.
  • There is no length of service requirement for employees to access compassionate care leave.
Court Leave

If an employee is summoned or selected to serve on a jury or to act as a witness in a court proceeding, the employer must give the employee a leave of absence without pay for the period of time the employee is absent from work for this purpose.

Critical Illness Leave (child)
  • Employers are required to provide an unpaid leave of up to 37 weeks to allow parents to provide care and support for a critically ill child who is under 18 years old.
  • An employee who is a parent of a critically ill child under 18 years old is entitled to the leave.
  • If both parents are employees of the same employer, the leave of absence may be taken wholly by one of the employees or be shared by the employees. The aggregate amount of leave that may be taken by the two employees shall not exceed to thirty-seven (37) weeks.
  • Employees must give their employers written notice of their intention to take a leave as soon as possible
  • The leave ends the last day of the week in which either the child dies or at the expiration of the thirty-seven (37) weeks.
Critical Illness Leave (adult)
  • Employers are required to provide an unpaid leave of up to sixteen (16) weeks to allow parents or other family members to provide care and support for a critically ill adult who is 18 years of age or older.
  • An employee who is a parent or other family member of a critically ill adult who is 18 years or older is entitled to the leave.
  • If both parents or other family members are employees of the same employer, the leave of absence may be taken wholly by one of the employees or be shared by the employees. The aggregate amount of leave that may be taken by the two employees shall not exceed sixteen (16) weeks.
Reservists Leave
  • Members in all classes of the Canadian Forces reserve force are eligible for a leave of absence without pay in order to perform military service.
  • An employer must grant a leave of up to 30 continuous calendar days for the purpose of annual training or up to 18 months for purposes other than annual training.
  • An employee must give the employer at least 4 weeks notice in writing before the beginning of the leave.
  • The 4-week notice requirement may be waived under urgent circumstance such as a military call to assist in a natural disaster.
  • The employer is not required to provide an extension that would result in a total leave that is longer than 18 months.
  • Other conditions apply.
Death or Disappearance Leave (Child)
  • An employee can take up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave in the event that a child has disappeared or has died as the probable result of a crime.
  • The parent may not take this leave if they are charged with the crime.
  • Both parents are entitled to take this leave.
  • Employees may return to work earlier by giving written notice to their employer.
  • Other conditions apply.
Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence of Sexual Violence Leave
  • Employers are required to grant the employee leaves of absence in each calendar year, not to exceed the total of the
  • following:
    • up to 10 days, which the employee may take intermittently or in one continuous period, and
    • up to 16 weeks in one continuous period.
  • The first five days of this leave are paid and the balance of leave is unpaid leave.
  • The rate of pay an employee is to be paid shall be an amount equal to the wages the employee would have earned if the employee had worked the regular hours ofwork for the applicable period.

The employee or a child of the employee is a victim of domestic violence, intimate partner violence or sexual violence, and the leave of absence is taken for any of the following purposes:

  • to seek medical attention for the employee or the child of the employee for a physical or psychological injury or disability caused by the domestic violence,intimate partner violence or sexual violence;
  • to obtain victim services for the employee or the child of the employee from a qualified person or organization;
  • to obtain psychological or other counseling from a qualified person for the employee or the child of the employee
  • to relocate temporarily or permanently;
  • to seek legal or law enforcement assistance,including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from the domestic violence, intimate partner violence or sexual violence; and
  • for any other purposes related to or resulting from the domestic violence, intimate partner violence or sexual violence.

When the employee advises the employer of his or her intention to take a leave of absence, the employee shall provide the employer in writing with the purposes for which the leave is to be taken, with reference to one or more of the above specific purposes.

All documentation or other material received in relation to the employee’s leave of absence, is confidential and shall not be disclosed unless

  • the employee has consented in writing,
  • the disclosure is made to an officer, employee or agent of the employer who needs the records in the performance of their duties, or
  • the disclosure is authorized or required by law.

For more information regarding domestic violence,intimate partner violence or sexual violence and the impact on the workplace, please contact Women’s Equality Branch via e-mail at [email protected]

Leaves are often accompanied by sensitive situations. When an employee comes to you to discuss a leave, please give business resources a call at 1 888-234-2232 or contact us at [email protected].