March 17, 2020

Ensuring Leave For Employees During Public Health Emergencies

Today, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act ensuring employees have access to job protected leaves during a public health emergency.

“We want to thank workers across Saskatchewan for everything they do,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said.  “No one should lose their job for continuing to prioritize health and safety during this public health emergency.”

The proposed amendments to the Act are:

  • to remove the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with the employer prior to accessing sick leave;
  • to remove the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate; and
  • introduction of a new unpaid public health emergency leave that can be accessed:

o       when the World Health Organization has determined that there is a public health emergency and the province’s chief medical health officer has also issued an order that measures be taken to reduce the spread of a disease; or

o       the province’s chief medical health officer has independently issued an order that measures be taken provincially to reduce the spread of a disease where it is believed there is sufficient risk of harm to citizens of the province.  The orders would also be made public to ensure everyone is aware of the direction.

The amendments to the Act would come into force retroactive to March 6, 2020.

“We also want to thank the members of the Opposition for their assistance in moving this act forward in a timely way so that employees have the peace of mind needed during public health emergencies,” Morgan said.