You answer your cellphone and the person on the other end has some shocking and scary news. The person on the other end is from your airline and informs you that the plane you just took had a passenger who may have been infected with Ebola. They suggest a voluntary quarantine at home. Is this a situation that your employer will be okay with?
Whether your employer allows you to stay at home as part of a voluntary quarantine may be governed by Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Allowing you to stay at home would not only be the practical choice given the health implications, but it would also be in accordance with the ESA.
The Employment Standards Act, 2000
In Ontario, the ESA provides employees with ability to take a job-protected leave of absence in various circumstances. For example, an employee who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus may be able to take 10 unpaid days off under the Personal Emergency Leave provisions of the ESA. If Ebola became a declared national emergency, an employee might be entitled to further leave. Furthermore, if it was the employee’s child that had been exposed to Ebola, the employee may be entitled to family caregiver leave under the ESA.
The ESA has may types of these job-protected leaves including: Parental Leave, Pregnancy Leave, Family Medical Leave, Organ Donor Leave, Personal Emergency Leave, Reservist Leave, and Domestic and/or Sexual Violence Leave, and others. Each leave has its own prerequisites in order to qualify and, in some circumstances, supporting documentation is required.