Sick leave around the world: how does Canada stack up?

Countries like Yemen, Ethiopia, Mongolia and Afghanistan provide employees with paid sick leave, while the United States, India and Somalia don’t. Find out how Canada stacks up.

When it comes to paid sick leave entitlements, Canadian employees are doing better than their counterparts in the United States - but not as well as some comparable countries.

Here, only public service employees are legally entitled to paid sick leave. Under the Canada Labour Code, federally-regulated employees are entitled to unpaid sick leave of up to 17 weeks if they have worked for the same employer for three months, during which time their job security is guaranteed. They must produce a medical certificate if requested by their employer. Some employees may be entitled to cash benefits under the Employment Insurance Act.

While many private employers do offer paid sick leave and Employment Insurance will support those who are sick for up to 15 weeks, there is no requirement for employers to provide a certain number of days sick leave.

In the US, there’s no federal requirement for paid sick leave at all, putting it in line with countries such as Syria and Somali for worker's rights.

Countries with no paid sick leave
United States
Sierra Leone
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Sick leave entitlement internationally
Sick leave is deemed a type of personal leave under the National Employment Standards and full-time employees are entitled to 10 days’ paid personal leave per year. That includes sick leave and paid carer’s leave.
Part-time employees receive a pro-rata entitlement to sick leave, based on the number of hours they work. Paid personal leave accumulates from year to year. Different rules apply for workers covered by an award or an agreement.New Zealand
Most employees receive a minimum of five days’ paid sick leave per year after the first six months of continuous employment and an additional five days’ leave after each subsequent 12-month period. The leave can be used when the worker is sick or injured, or when their spouse or a dependant is sick.

United States
There are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave, but companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act are required to provide unpaid sick leave. The act provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical situations for the employee or a member of their immediate family. Workers are eligible for unpaid sick leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 1,250 hours over 12 months.

United Kingdom
Workers may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, which is paid leave for up to 28 weeks. Companies can offer more leave under their own sick pay schemes, but they cannot offer less.

What is your company's sick leave policy? Do you think Canada should legislate a number of personal days for employees?


Recent articles & video

Apotex CHRO Carina Vassilieva: increasing engagement with people analytics

WorkSafeNB launches workplace safety campaign for foreign workers

Graduates with advanced degrees struggle to find jobs in Quebec: report

Province reminds employers of responsibilities to protect workers from heat

Most Read Articles

Toronto commute ‘intolerable’, says Board of Trade CEO

3 unions team up to intervene in appeal of province’s pronoun law

Corus Entertainment laying off about 300 more workers due to revenue slumps