Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) Days in Ontario

In the bustling world of work, unexpected personal emergencies can strike at any moment. Fortunately, in Ontario, a legislative safety net exists to protect employees during these challenging times - the Personal Emergency Leave. Guaranteed by using the Employment Standards Act, 2000, this important gain ensures that personnel can take time without work paintings to deal with emergencies without the threat of dropping their jobs. In this complete article, we will delve into the nuances of personal emergency go away, breaking down its numerous elements to help each employees and employers apprehend this vital element of hard work regulation.

Understanding Personal Emergency Leave in Ontario: An Overview

Defining Personal Emergency Leave

At its core, personal emergency leave is a legislated right that permits an employee to take up to 10 days off each calendar year due to specified personal emergencies or critical life events. These events encompass personal illness, injury, or other urgent matters demanding immediate attention.

Ontario's Unique Context

Ontario sets itself apart with its broad and inclusive legislation on personal emergency leave. The province's robust protections ensure job security for employees amidst personal crises, and it lays out a clear and transparent process for accessing this leave.

The Legislative Framework: Employment Standards Act, 2000

The cornerstone of Ontario's labor standards, including personal emergency leave, is the Employment Standards Act, 2000. This comprehensive legislation spells out the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees and lends the much-needed legal backing to personal emergency leave.

Interpretation of Relevant Provisions

Interpreting the Act's provisions on personal emergency leave requires a close look at the specific language and terminology used. The Act outlines the circumstances under which employees can claim personal emergency leave and the obligations that employers need to fulfill in these situations.

Important Amendments

 Over the years, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 has seen several amendments. Some of these legislative changes have enhanced employees' rights, clarified employers' duties, and thereby increased the overall effectiveness and reach of personal emergency leave.

How to know if you have qualified for personal emergency leave (PEL)?

If an employee is unable to perform their tasks for one or more of the following reasons, they are eligible for up to three days of paid leave in Ontario:

  1. The employee is undergoing medical evaluation, monitoring, or COVID-19-related therapy.
  2. Receiving the medical vaccination and recovering from any related side effects are considered to be part of “therapy.”
  3. The employee is following a public health directive.
  4. A family member’s illness or injuries, such as that of a parent, kid, spouse, or sister,
  5. taking care of a family member who is unwell or injured.
  6. The passing or death of a relative
  7. Physical injury or illness

A directive from the employer has been provided to the employee because the employer is worried that the person would expose others at work. However, please be aware that if your company currently has rules allowing for paid leave and such absence is permitted for the aforementioned reasons, these days do not contribute to your eligibility for any such paid leave.

Reasons for taking sick leave 

  1. Illness, accident, or medical emergency.

An employee may request sick time for personal diseases, accidents, or medical crises. It makes no difference whether the illness, accident, or medical emergency was brought on by the employee or by uncontrollable outside events. For instance, even if the injury was brought on by the worker’s negligence, they would still be eligible for sick leave if they damaged their ankle while showing off to friends while water skiing.

Even if it is booked in advance and is not a medical “emergency,” employees are often allowed to use the absence for pre-planned (elective) surgery if it is necessary due to an illness or accident.

Employees are not permitted to use the leave for cosmetic procedures that are not connected to illnesses or injuries or are not medically required.

Length of sick leave

The length of sick leave depends on whether they are working full or part-time. Employees are entitled to up to three full days of job-protected unpaid sick leave per calendar year.

The three days of vacation are not extended. A worker who starts working in the middle of a calendar year is still eligible for three days of leave for the remainder of the year.

Unused sick days cannot be carried over to the following calendar year by employees. The three days of vacation do not have to be used all at once. Employees have the option of taking their leave in increments of one day, several days, or both. The company may count a partial day taken by an employee as a full day of sick leave.

Evidence of eligibility

You might be asked by employees to show evidence of eligibility criteria as proof of sick leave by their employer. 

The totality of the circumstances, including the length of the leave, the existence of a pattern of absences, the existence of any evidence, and the expense of the evidence, will determine what is reasonable under the circumstances.

What Counts as “Reasonable in the Circumstances” Proof?

Employers may request documentation of a worker’s need for the absence after they receive a personal emergency leave request from an employee. For instance, in the event of a death, this may involve a copy of the death certificate or obituary. Additional “reasonable in the circumstances” evidence might be:

  1. A pharmacy’s notice displaying a prescription
  2. An employer-mandated form for emergency leave.


In this blog we have looked at ways employees can take personal emergency leave. Many people are unaware of their legal entitlement to personal emergency leave (PEL). In Ontario, each employee is eligible for up to three days of PEL. Essential absences from work caused by personal or family sickness, including pregnancy and recuperation, accidents, medical visits, or legal quarantine, are permitted to be covered by sick leave requests. An employee may request sick time for personal diseases, accidents, or medical crises. It makes no difference whether the illness, accident, or medical emergency was brought on by the employee or by uncontrollable outside events. Employees are not permitted to use the leave for cosmetic procedures that are not connected to illnesses or injuries. I hope you got the idea about the eligibility criteria and proof to be given before applying for personal emergency leave.

Written By:
Salman Rundhawa
Salman Rundhawa is the founder of Filing Taxes. Salman provides valuable tax planning, accounting, and income tax preparation services in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, and Hamilton.

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