What employees should know as COVID-19 continues to affect jobs

The new reality of COVID-19 has meant some changes to employment legislation.

David Stack, a senior partner with the McKercher LLP, has been researching and keeping clients up-to-date on legislation changes. Stack mentioned that under the Saskatchewan Employment Act, an employer has a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their worker.

He said the new public health emergency leave has been created for this crisis and is available for an employee who has been directed to self-isolate.

“It’s also available for an employee needs to take time off to take care of a family member that is affected by the crisis,” stated Stack.

“The leave is important since it’s intended to ensure that employees on this leave will have a job to come back to.”

It’s unpaid leave, but employees should have access to income support from the federal government. If you are able to work from home though, you would receive your regular wage.

As an employer, if a worker may have been exposed or has tested positive, there may be issues of privacy to work around.

Stack said disclosure should be kept minimal.

“Generally speaking, if there is a concern the employer has to disclose health information of an employee, it may not a bad idea to consult legal counsel prior to any actions.”

When it comes to vacation time, if an employee’s holiday has to be postponed because of fewer people in the workplace, the employer would have to pay all non-refundable deposits, penalties and pre-paid expenses related to the vacation.


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