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July 20th, 2004:

Pregnancy and parental leave – What about vacation time and pay?

 

By John Johnson, Information Specialist, HRPAO

July 20, 2004


When developing a vacation policy an employer should be aware of their obligations to employees during Pregnancy leave and Parental leave. If the employer’s policies are vague or confusing about accrued vacation time and/or pay while the employee is on leave then the employer may have to provide paid vacation whether or not that was the intention of the policies.


When developing a vacation policy an employer should be aware of their obligations to employees during Pregnancy leave and Parental leave. If the employer’s policies are vague or confusing about accrued vacation time and/or pay while the employee is on leave then the employer may have to provide paid vacation whether or not that was the intention of the policies.
 

Is vacation time accrued during Pregnancy leave or Parental leave? The answer is yes.

Is vacation pay accrued during Pregnancy leave or Parental leave? The answer is maybe.
 

The Ontario Employment Standards Act, Section 33, addresses the question of vacation time by saying that “ An employer shall give an employee a vacation of at least two weeks after each vacation entitlement year that he or she completes”, and that active and inactive employment should be included in calculating an employee’s vacation time.
 

Under Section 46 of the Employment Standards Act, a pregnant employee is entitled to a leave of absence of 17 weeks without pay. During Pregnancy leave the employer will continue to calculate an employee’s seniority and length of service and accured vacation time even though the employee is on leave. This provision is the same under Parental leave as well.
 

Under Section 35.2, an employer shall pay vacation pay to an employee who is entitled to vacation, an amount equal to at least 4 per cent of the wages, excluding vacation pay, that the employee earned during the period for which the vacation is given.

However, since no pay is earned during pregnancy or parental leave the vacation pay itself  is not accrued.
 

If an employer’s human resources policies state that paid vacation days are accrued through length of service then vacation time and vacation pay are both accrued during Pregnancy and Parental leave. However if the human resources policies say that vacation time is accrued through service, rather than paid vacation, then vacation pay does not necessarily accrue. The following examples illustrate this point.
 

If the employer’s policy states that an employee earns two weeks of vacation time for every year a person is employed then that person will accrue  vacation time while on Pregnancy or Parental leave and if this employee’s vacation pay is calculated at 4% of their gross wages but no wages are paid while on Pregnancy or Parental leave, then this employee will accrue vacation time without accruing any  vacation pay while on leave.
 

If an employer’s policy says that the employee earns 1.5 paid vacation days for each month of employment then that employee will accrue paid vacation time while on Pregnancy or Parental leave and will get the accrued vacation time with pay


Written By: John Johnson, Information Specialist, HRPAO
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