Absence from Work Due to Illness or Injury
If certain conditions are met, employees are protected from discriminatory action if they are absent from work due to their own illness or injury or because of the illness or injury of a family member.
Discriminatory action includes any adverse action taken by the employer that affects their employment. This includes termination, layoff, discipline, changes of hours of work, intimidation, reduction in wages, loss of opportunity for promotion, demotion and transfer.
Paid sick leave is not provided for in The Saskatchewan Employment Act.
1. Missing Work Due to an Illness or Injury
Employers may not discharge or discipline employees who have worked for them for more than 13 consecutive weeks because of absence due to the illness or injury of the employee:
- if the absence does not exceed 12 days in a calendar year for an illness or injury that is not serious;
- if the absence is due to serious illness or injury, and does not exceed 12 weeks in a period of 52 weeks; or
- if the employee is injured and receiving benefits under The Workers' Compensation Act, and the absence does not exceed 26 weeks in a period of 52 weeks.
The employer may require a medical note to verify the absence. Employment standards do not require employers to pay employees who are away sick. However, employers and employees may agree to paid sick leave.
If the employee's absence due to the illness or injury is the result of a public health emergency, the employee doesn't require 13 weeks of employment or need to provide a medical note.
Using Vacation as "Sick Leave"
While not specifically provided for in legislation, some employers and employees agree to use vacation and vacation pay when employees are sick. Vacation days used as “sick leave” should be clearly identified on the employee’s pay and attendance records.
2. Missing Work Due to a Family Member's Illness or Injury
Employees may also be entitled to job protection while they are absent from work due to the serious illness or injury of a member of the employee's immediate family who is dependent on the employee. An employer may request that the employee provide a doctor's certificate certifying that the family member was ill or injured.
3. Duty to Accommodate Disabled Employees
An employer is required to modify an employee's duties or re-assign the employee to other duties if the employee becomes disabled. Accommodation will typically require participation by both the employer and employee.
4. Protection to Access Federal Sickness and Caregiving Benefits
Employees were protected from discriminatory action by their employer if they were away from work to apply for or receive the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
The last period for the federal government benefit programs was May 1 to 7, 2022. The application deadline is July 6, 2022.
Employees were entitled to this protection during the eligibility period for these programs, which ran from September 25, 2020, until May 7, 2022.
Employees were not required to provide proof they had applied for the federal benefit or a medical note in order to access this protection.