As you can see from most of the articles in this edition, employment standards legislation in Atlantic Canada is far from uniform. Perhaps most so when it comes to dealing with short term leaves of absences. The following tells that story.

Sick leave

New Brunswick

After working 90 days for the same employer, an employee is entitled to up to five unpaid days during a 12-month calendar period. An employer can require a doctor's note when such leave of absence is for four or more consecutive calendar days.

Nova Scotia

Once employed, an employee is entitled to up to three unpaid days each year to care for an ill parent, child or family member. This leave can also be used for medical, dental or other similar appointments.

Prince Edward Island

After six continuous months of service, an employee is entitled to up to three unpaid days during a 12-month period. An employer can ask for a doctor's note if the employee takes three consecutive days' leave.

Newfoundland and Labrador

After 30 continuous days of employment, an employee is entitled to up to seven unpaid days during a 12-month period. The employee must provide a doctor's note if s/he is on sick leave for three consecutive days or more.

Bereavement leave

New Brunswick

An employee is entitled to five consecutive unpaid days on the death of a person in a "close family relationship".

Nova Scotia

There are two periods of bereavement leave depending on the relationship of the family member to the employee.

Employees are entitled to three unpaid days if the bereavement leave is due to the death of a spouse, parent, guardian, child, or a child under the employee's care. Employees are entitled to one unpaid working day if the bereavement leave is due to the death of a Grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, or brother-in-law.

Prince Edward Island

Like Nova Scotia, there are two categories of bereavement leave, but similarity ends there.

Employees are entitled to three days, one day paid and two days unpaid, where the bereavement leave is due to the death of a spouse, child, parent, brother or sister of the employee.

Employees are entitled to three unpaid days where the bereavement leave is due to the death of a grandparent, grandchild, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, aunt or uncle of the employee.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Employees employed for 30 or more continuous days are entitled to three days, one day paid and two days unpaid, where the bereavement leave is due to the death of a spouse, child, grandchild, mother or father, brother or sister, grandparent or mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law or brother-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee.

Jury or court duty

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Unpaid leave for the period of time the employee is absent from work.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Under the Jury Act, payment of wages and benefits continues as if not summoned for duty.

What this means for you

It's a simple message - keep your eye on the ball. When an employee asks for leave, make sure you are clear in what the leave is for and what the entitlement is before denying the leave. This could avoid a complaint and embarrassment in circumstances where you need to avoid them.