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Manitoba amending Employment Standards Code to extend long-term leave for injury, illness

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March 8, 2024
By Talent Canada

Malaya Marcelino, Manitoba's Minister of Labour and Immigration.

The Manitoba government is introducing amendments to its Employment Standards Code that would extend long-term leave for serious injury or illness to 27 weeks, aligning with the federal employment insurance (EI) benefit period, Labour and Immigration Minister Malaya Marcelino announced on March 7.

“When Manitoba workers get sick or injured, they shouldn’t have to choose between getting well and putting food on the table,” said Marcelino. “This bill would protect Manitoba workers by giving them the time and flexibility they need to focus on treatment and recovery, without worrying about how to make ends meet.”

In 2022, the federal government made changes to EI and employment standards legislation as part of a broader commitment to reform Canada’s EI program. These changes increased EI sickness benefits to 26 from 15 weeks and increased the maximum length of unpaid medical leave available to federally regulated employees to 27 from 17 weeks under the Canada Labour Code.

As a result, Manitoba’s legislation did not align with the new federal changes, meaning Manitobans were not able to access the full benefits available to them, the province said in a press release.


The proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Code would extend long-term leave for serious injury or illness to 27 from 17 weeks, ensuring all Manitoba workers are able to access enough unpaid protected leave from their jobs to receive the full extended EI benefits. To qualify, an employee must be employed by the same employer for at least 90 days.

Long-term leave for serious injury or illness is an unpaid leave governed by the provincial Employment Standards Code, though employers may choose to provide leave beyond the minimum standards.

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