On April 17, 2020, the New Brunswick government passed amendments to the Employment Standards Act. These amendments include a new job-protected leave of absence during a declared state of emergency, the full details of which can be determined by the government through a regulation. As of 5:00 p.m. EDT, no regulation setting out the details of the new leave was publicly available. We will provide an updated as soon as they are.
This leave is a permanent Emergency Leave under the ESA that will be used in times of any public health emergency not just COVID-19. The right to Emergency leave will be triggered, if it is necessary in the opinion of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, an employer grant an employee a leave of absence in any of the following circumstances:
- when the Minister of Public Safety declares a state of emergency under the Emergency Measures Act in respect to all or any area of the Province;
- when the Governor in Council declares a public welfare emergency, a public order emergency, an international emergency or a war emergency under the Emergencies Act (Canada);
- when the Governor in Council makes an order under section 58 of the Quarantine Act (Canada);
- in any circumstance relating to (i) a notifiable disease prescribed by regulation under the Public Health Act or declared to be a notifiable disease in an order of the Minister of Health or the chief medical officer of health, as the case may be; (ii) a notifiable event prescribed by regulation under the Public Health Act, or (iii) any other threat to public health.
Other details are forthcoming when the regulations are made public.
On April 29, 2020, the government published a regulation applicable to its new COVID-19 Emergency Leave. The regulation states that an employer shall grant an unpaid emergency leave to an employee that is:
- under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment related to COVID-19;
- acting in accordance with an order under section 33, 36 or 41 of the Public Health Actrelated to COVID-19;
- in quarantine or isolation or is subject to a control measure, which may include self-isolation, and the quarantine, isolation or control measure was implemented as a result of information or directions related to COVID-19 (in certain circumstances);
- under a direction given by his or her employer in response to a concern of the employer that the employee may expose other individuals in the workplace to COVID-19;
- providing care or support to an individual with whom the employee shares a close family relationship because of a matter related to COVID-19 that concerns that individual, including school or early learning and childcare facility closures; or
- directly affected by travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and, under the circumstances, cannot reasonably be expected to travel back to New Brunswick.
Employers cannot request medical notes and notice is to be provided as soon as possible. The duration of the leave is as long as the declared emergency is still in effect or until one of the above reasons ends.
Eligibility for the emergency leave is retroactive to March 12, 2020.