Employment Standards Act Amendment

On April 29, 2021, the Ontario government passed Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021amending the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) to require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave if they miss work for reasons related to COVID-19.

The entitlement is retroactive to April 19, 2021 and will end on September 25, 2021, with the possibility that it might be extended.

In a nutshell

  • Up to 3 days pay
  • The 3 days do not have to be consecutive
  • Retroactive to April 19, 2021
  • Employer reimbursement
  • Employers must apply for reimbursement within 120 days
  • Doctor’s note NOT required
  • More support for long-term


Employees are entitled to three days leave if they are:

  • Under medical investigation, supervision or treatment related to COVID-19
  • Going to get vaccinated
  • Experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19vaccination
  • Under a direction from their employer, medical practitioner or other authority to self-isolate
  • Providing care or support to a dependent who is:
  • Sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Self-isolating due to COVID-19
  • Employees are not required to provide a medical note to qualify for this leave.


Calculation of Paid Leave Benefit

The leave under Bill 284 will be calculated and paid out by using the employee’s regular rate of pay.

The legislation provides that employers will be required to pay the employee the lesser of $200 per day and either:

  1. i) the wages the employee would have earned had they not taken the leave, or
  2. ii) if the employee receives commissions or tips, the greater of the employee’s hourly rate, if any, and the minimum wage that would have applied to the employee for the number of hours the employee would have worked had they not taken the leave.

Eligible employees will be paid up to a maximum of $200 per day.


Employers Can Apply for Reimbursement

Employers can apply to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) in order to be reimbursed for payments, up to a maximum of $200 per day, per employee. Employers will not be reimbursed for this paid leave if the employee received benefits under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA”) for the days of the leave.

You’ll need a completed application in the form approved by the WSIB, along with proof of payment and several other details.


  • Retroactive to April 19, 2021
  • Employers must apply for reimbursement within 120 days of making the payment
  • The benefits end September 25,2021 but that date could be extended


Calculation of Paid Leave Benefit

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work at least 50% of their scheduled work week because they are either:

  • sick with COVID-19
  • need to self-isolate due to COVID-19
  • have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19

Employees are not eligible for the CRSB if they are receiving paid leave from their employer for the same period or receiving any of the following for the same period:

  • Canada Recovery
  • Benefit (CRB)
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
  • short-term disability benefits
  • Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
  • Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits


Help Line

Employers and their workers can call a dedicated COVID-19 Sick Days Information Centre hotline at 1-888-999-2248 or visit Ontario.ca/COVIDworkerbenefit to get more information and updates about the proposed Ontario COVID-19 paid leave days.