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The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act

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S.M. 2020, c. 7

Bill 55, 2nd Session, 42nd Legislature

The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act

Explanatory Note

This note is a reader's aid and is not part of the law.

This Act amends The Employment Standards Code to add a temporary job-protected leave for employees who are unable to work due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The requirement for an employee to provide a certificate from a health professional in respect of a leave provided for in the Code is also temporarily suspended.

(Assented to April 15, 2020)

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. E110 amended

1

The Employment Standards Code is amended by this Act.

2

The following is added after section 59.11 and before the centred heading that follows it:

PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY LEAVE

Definitions

59.12(1)

The following definitions apply in this section.

"health officer" means

(a) the chief public health officer, a health officer or a medical officer within the meaning of The Public Health Act; or

(b) a public health official of the Government of Canada. (« agent hygiéniste »)

"health professional" means a person who is entitled to practise as a physician, registered nurse or nurse practitioner under the laws of the jurisdiction in which care or treatment is provided to an employee or an employee's family member. (« professionnel de la santé »)

Entitlement to leave

59.12(2)

An employee is entitled to unpaid public health emergency leave if, in relation to the pandemic in Manitoba caused by the communicable disease known as COVID-19, they are unable to perform their work because

(a) the employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment;

(b) the employee, as a result of information or directions issued or provided by a health officer, health professional, Health Links – Info Santé, the Government of Manitoba or the Government of Canada,

(i) is required to quarantine or isolate themselves, within the meaning of The Public Health Act, or

(ii) is subject to self-isolation or any other measure that results in their inability to work;

(c) the employer, due to the employer's concern about the employee's exposure to others, has directed the employee not to work;

(d) the employee is providing care or support to a family member, as defined in section 59.2, including care or support needed to be provided as a result of the closure of a school or premises where child care is provided;

(e) the employee is directly affected by travel restrictions and cannot reasonably be expected to travel to their workplace;

(f) the employee is subject to an order made under The Public Health Act; or

(g) the employee is acting in accordance with an order made under The Emergency Measures Act.

Length of leave

59.12(3)

An employee is entitled to leave whenever a circumstance set out in clauses (2)(a) to (g) applies to the employee. The leave ends when none of those circumstances apply to the employee.

Verification

59.12(4)

An employee taking a leave under this section may be required to provide the employer with reasonable verification of the necessity of the leave as soon as practicable. An employer must not request, and no employee is required to provide, a certificate from a health professional or health officer as verification.

3

The following is added after subsection 60(3):

Temporary suspension of physician's certificates and medical certificates

60(3.1)

On or after March 1, 2020, an employer must not request, and no employee is required to provide, a physician's certificate or a medical certificate in respect of the employee taking or being eligible to take a leave under

(a) section 54 or 55 (maternity leave);

(b) section 59.2 (compassionate care leave);

(c) section 59.6 (unpaid leave for organ donation);

(d) section 59.8 (leave related to critical illness);

(e) section 59.10 (long-term leave for serious injury or illness); or

(f) section 59.12 (public health emergency leave).

Transitional — entitlement to leave begins March 1, 2020

4(1)

In respect of the period from March 1, 2020, to the day on which this section comes into force, an employee is entitled to, and is deemed to have taken, leave under section 59.12 of The Employment Standards Code, as enacted by section 2 of this Act, if

(a) the employee was employed by an employer on or after March 1, 2020; and

(b) the employee, in relation to the pandemic in Manitoba caused by the communicable disease known as COVID-19, was unable to perform their work because of a circumstance set out in clauses 59.12(2)(a) to (g) on or after March 1, 2020.

When deemed leave ends

4(2)

An employee's leave under subsection (1) is deemed to end, or have ended, when none of the circumstances set out in clauses 59.12(2)(a) to (g) apply to the employee.

Repeal — public health emergency leave provisions

5(1)

Section 59.12 and subsection 60(3.1) of The Employment Standards Code, as enacted by sections 2 and 3 of this Act, are repealed.

Transitional — leave may continue despite repeal

5(2)

An employee who takes or has taken public health emergency leave under section 59.12 of The Employment Standards Code, as enacted by section 2 of this Act, on the day that section 59.12 is repealed may extend the leave for as long as one or more of the circumstances set out in clauses 59.12(2)(a) to (g) apply to them.

Coming into force — royal assent

6(1)

Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

Coming into force — proclamation

6(2)

Section 5 comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.