Stress Leave

Many people deal with different stresses daily, and they’re often work-related. For some people, stress can become overwhelming. This may lead to them requiring stress leave from work.

As a business owner, your employees’ well-being should be one of your top priorities. In this guide we’ll explain some reasons for stress, your employees’ entitlements, and the different stress leave legislations around Canada.

Is stress leave sick leave?

In Canada, stress leave comes under the same umbrella as sick leave. There aren’t any mandatory policies that include stress-related leave.

However, mental stress leave of absence shouldn’t be taken lightly. There is no maximum time off for stress. You can include your own policy for taking time off work for stress within your employee handbook or contract.

Causes of stress

There are many common causes that can lead to one of your employees’ taking time off work for stress. For example:

  • Money troubles.
  • Difficult family situations.
  • High workload.
  • Concern over job stability.
  • Difficult relationship with colleagues.

Is stress leave paid?

Due to stress leave and sick leave being the same in legislation, there is no mandatory pay for stress. However, you can include a paid stress leave policy in your company.

How much does employment insurance (EI) pay for stress leave?

If you have a member of staff who is unable to work and require medical leave of absence for stress, they may be eligible to EI stress leave financial support.

EI can provide up to 15 weeks of financial assistance. They could receive up to 55% of their earnings – with a maximum of $595 a week. For more information, visit the Federal government website.

How to apply for stress leave?

If an employee feels overwhelmed due to stress and approaches you to discuss the matter, encourage them to consult their doctor.

Your stress leave policy should make it clear whether employees need to provide a doctor’s note before taking the leave or once they return to work. It should also outline the return-to-work interview process.

Depending on the severity of the stress disorder, you could also allow for a gradual return to work – a couple of days a week.

Sick leave legislations differ across provinces. When you’re dealing with stress leave in your company, make sure you stick by the rules for your province.

Failure to do so may be a breach of contract and you may end up before an employment tribunal.

  • Alberta: Employees are entitled to ten days unpaid sick leave in any one year of employment.
  • British Columbia: Employees are entitled to three days unpaid job-protected leave if they have worked for the company for 90 days.
  • Ontario: Under employment standards act (ESA), employee entitled to three days unpaid leave a year. Only eligible if worked for the company for at least two weeks.

Get help with your stress leave today with BrightHR

It’s important that you get your stress and sick leave right. Staff have a statutory right to time-off, and not managing it well may lead to unhappy employees, or a breach of employment contract.

BrightHR offers tools that can make sick leave management quick and hassle-free. Our sick leave and lateness tools allow you to manage employee absences within seconds.

Contact us on 18882204924 or book a demo today.


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