What Is Time Off?

Time off is a period of time during which a worker is authorized by law or by their working conditions to be absent from work. Leave protects the employment relationship and may be paid or unpaid, depending on the situation.

What Are the Different Types of Time Off?

Statutory holidays

In Canada, the following 8 statutory holidays entitle workers to paid leave:

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday or Easter Monday, at the employer’s discretion
  • Monday preceding May 25 – National Patriots’ Day
  • July 1 or July 2 if the date is a Sunday – Canada Day
  • 1st Monday in September – Labour Day
  • 2nd Monday in October – Thanksgiving
  • December 25 – Christmas Day
  • December 26 – Boxing Day

In companies offering essential services or services that must be maintained given their nature, a worker who is unable to be absent will be entitled to compensation or deferred leave, at the employer’s discretion.

When a public holiday falls on a day on which the employee does not normally work, or during a vacation period, the employee will be entitled to compensation or deferred leave, at the employer’s discretion.

Family leave

A number of family-related events entitle employees to leave with or without pay, as the case may be:

  • Birth or adoption (maternity, paternity or parental leave)
  • Parental or family obligations (childcare or health problems)
  • Own or immediate family member’s marriage or civil union
  • Funeral, death or suicide of a loved one
  • Disappearance of a child

Annual vacation

Annual vacation is a type of leave that accumulates over a reference period at a rate that depends on a number of factors.

Leave for illness or accident at work

A number of health-related reasons entitle employees to time off with or without pay, as the case may be:

  • Non-work-related illness or accident
  • Work-related accident
  • Occupational illness

Special situations provided for by law

Several other situations provided for by law entitle the employee to leave with or without pay, depending on the case:

  • Interruption of pregnancy
  • Military operation
  • Organ or tissue donation
  • Victim of domestic or sexual violence
  • Victim of a criminal act

Time off provided for under working conditions

In addition to the law, an employee’s working conditions may provide for additional leave, in accordance with the terms and conditions established by their employer.

Time off at the employer’s discretion

Certain significant events (divorce, anniversary or relocation) do not automatically entitle employees to leave. The decision to grant leave not provided for by law rests with the employer.

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