Reading Time: < 1 minute

On January 3rd, the Ontario government announced a set of new restrictions that include moving school online until at least January 17th.

This announcement has left many working parents scrambling to plan for childcare over the next two weeks. While not a complete solution, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Employment Standards Act provide protections for parents and guardians in this situation.

Working from home with flexibility

For employees whose job allows them to work from home, it may be the case that they can continue working while a child or children are learning remotely but require some flexibility to balance managing their job and the virtual classroom. They would be seeking an accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code based on Family Status.

Employees are to be accommodated to the point of undue hardship, meaning that the accommodation it is not overly burdensome for the employer in how it impacts their operations. In this scenario, appropriate accommodations might include adjusting working hours and altering deliverables and expectations on a temporary basis. These adjustments allow the working parent to keeping working through this time with reasonable accommodations based on the situation.

When you cannot work from home

For employees who are unable to perform their jobs from home and are required to stay home because of school closures, they are entitled to job protected leave under the Employment Standard Act (Emergency leave: declared emergencies and infectious disease emergencies, Section 50.1(1.1)(b)(v)).

While this leave is unpaid, employers should allow employees who find themselves in this situation to exhaust their paid leave entitlements if they so choose before they go on unpaid leave.

If you have questions about leave, contact our team or give our free employment law helpline a call.

 

Author(s)

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Have Questions?

Enjoy this article?
Don’t forget to share.

Related Posts

Employment Law for Employees
Blog
Reading time: 3 mins
Employers Now Obligated to Disclose Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace
Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022, received royal assent on April 11, 2022. One of the most interesting[...]
Employment Law for Employees
Blog
Reading time: 2 mins
The Pandemic May Not Automatically Frustrate Employment Contracts
What is Frustration of Contract? Contract frustration occurs when a contractual obligation can no longer be performed, with no fault[...]
Employment Law for Employees
Blog
Reading time: 4 mins
Four mindset shifts to support equity and anti-racism in legal workplaces
  Following the release of the groundbreaking final report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group, the Law[...]