What the Act says

The Act respecting labour standards contains provisions that allow an employee to be absent when he or one of his loved ones is the victim of a crime.

An employee may be absent, without pay, for a maximum period of 52 weeks following the disappearance of his child who is a minor.

If the child is found alive, the employee must return to work within 11 days.

An employee may also be absent, without pay, for a maximum period of 104 weeks:

  • If he or his child who is a minor suffers serious injuries following a crime
  • If his spouse or his child dies as the result of a crime.

An employee who is absent because his minor child disappeared may benefit from a leave of up to 104 weeks if the child is found dead.

The employee must be credited with at least 3 months of service to be entitled to any one of these leaves. The employer must be able to check that the bodily injury or death is the result of a crime or that the person who has disappeared is in danger.

The employee is not entitled to these leaves if it is shown that he or the deceased person (spouse or child of legal age) participated in the crime, or contributed, through his gross neglect, to the prejudice suffered. If it is his minor child who dies while participating in a crime, the employee is entitled to the leaves.

Period of absence and return to work

The period of absence begins no sooner than the day of the event and ends no later than 104 weeks later. The employee must notify his employer as soon as possible of his absence and the reasons requiring that he be absent. The employer may ask the employee, notably concerning the length of absence or its repetitive nature, to provide him with a document attesting to these reasons. During his absence, the employee may return to work on a part-time or intermitted basis, if the employer is in agreement.

When the employee returns to work, the employer must reinstate him in his former position and grant him the wages and the benefits that he would have been entitled to had he remained at work.

If his position has been abolished, the employee retains the same rights and privileges that he would have enjoyed had he remained at work.

However, these provisions must not give the employee an advantage that he would not have enjoyed had he remained at work.

If the employee continues to make contributions to the various group insurance and pension plans during his leave, the employer must do likewise. If the employer does not, he is liable to legal proceedings under section 122 of the Act respecting labour standards.

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