Modifications to the Act respecting labour standards (the Act) pursuant to Bill 125: An Act to facilitate organ and tissue donation will come into force on February 28, 2011.

Employers will thereon be required to grant a leave without pay to employees who undergo an organ or tissue donation upon the same conditions as those applicable to sick leave under the Act.

To benefit from this leave, an employee must however:

  1. be credited with three months of uninterrupted service;
  2. notify his employer as soon as possible of his absence and the reason for the absence; and
  3. when circumstances warrant, provide a medical certificate or any other document attesting the reason for his absence.

The leave provided in the Act is without pay and for a length of no more than twenty-six (26) weeks within a twelve (12) month period.

During the leave of absence, the employer must maintain the participation of the employee in the group insurance and pension plans recognized at his workplace and continue to pay its usual share of the contributions payable under those plans.

The employer is further required to reinstate the employee in his former position upon the end of his leave of absence, with the same benefits including the wages to which the employee would have been entitled had he remained at work.

In conclusion, it is expected that the changes brought about by Bill 125 should in principle affect only a small number of employers because generally, the number of organ donors in Québec is a little more than one hundred (100) individuals per year.