COVID-19: Updates on Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) 

The recent updates on Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) continue to create lingering uncertainty regarding eligibility requirements– particularly as it relates to employees who have existing entitlements to sick or personal days.  

As we’ve previously discussed in our PooranLaw Legal Update Webinar Series and on our Insights Blog, eligibility for Paid IDEL is evolving.   The Ministry of Labour representatives are now indicating that if pre-existing sick or paid leave entitlements are more restrictive than the terms on which Paid IDEL are available (such as requiring a sick note) then the pre-existing entitlements will NOT count against an employee’s entitlement to Paid IDEL.   However, the Ministry of Labour has refused to answer whether this applies where a sick note “may” be requested but is not “mandated” under existing sick leave or paid time off policies/contracts. 

At present, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) appears to be relying on the Ministry of Labour’s interpretation of the law.  At the same time, this interpretation is likely not what the government intended given that in most cases it will result in employees who already have  generous sick and paid time off entitlements under their contracts or collective agreements receiving even more paid time off paid for out of the government’s purse.   Keep in mind that the purpose of this Paid IDEL was to provide paid time off to vulnerable workers who do not already have paid time available to them.   How this intention and the Ministry of Labour’s interpretation plays out remains to be seen.

In further Paid IDEL news, the process for submitting requests for reimbursement through WSIB has finally been rolled out.  Employers may now submit claims to the WSIB for reimbursement through the WSIB Ontario website. They will receive a claim confirmation number and can keep track the claim status online. Payments are scheduled to begin by the end of June and continue on a bi-weekly basis. An approved claim will take approximately two weeks to process. The website page also provides details on how to obtain assistance in making a claim or details about the program. 

 PooranLaw will continue to monitor legal developments related to Paid IDEL. In the meantime, if you require legal assistance in determining how these new rules apply to you or your organization, we encourage you to reach out to your regular PooranLaw lawyer, or any member of our team. 

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and the article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.