Guide to Personal Leave Days

June 22, 2020


Guide to Personal Leave Days


On September 1, 2019, the Federal Government implemented changes to the Canada Labour Code regarding personal leave days. The leave is not discretionary, every employee is entitled to and shall be granted a leave of absence from employment of up to five days in every calendar year.

Of the five (5) personal leave days, the first three (3) days are to be paid and the remaining two (2) unpaid. To qualify, employees (members and casuals (must have three (3) months of continuous employment working under the industry Collective agreement ..)

  • Multi-employer employment means longshoring employment in any port in Canada whereby custom the employee engaged in such employment would in the usual course of a working month be ordinarily employed by more than one employer.
  • If an employee is engaged in multi-employer employment, that employee is deemed to be continuously employed.
  • An employee does not need to work full time or be a regular workforce for paid personal leave.
  • Personal leave days can be taken one (1) day at a time, up to five (5) days

Employees have the right to a leave of no more than five days per calendar year to heal from an injury or illness, take care of health obligations for any member of their family or care for them, take care of obligations related to the education of any family member under age 18, manage any urgent situation that concerns them or a family member, attend their citizenship ceremony under the Citizenship Act, or manage any other situation prescribed by regulation.

Examples of acceptable uses of Personal Leave:


Family Responsibilities       

      • Accompanying the family member to an appointment with a health care practitioner
      • Accompanying the family member to a surgery
      • Accompanying the family member to the hospital or other medical institutions (i.e. labs, clinics) to undergo scheduled medical tests
      • Picking up the family member from school due to an illness, injury or medical emergency
      • Taking care of a young child for a day following an unexpected school or day care closure
      • Taking care of a sick or injured family member at home
      • Making arrangements for a family member’ long-term care
      • Helping move an elderly family member into a more suitable residence.



      • Attending parent-teacher interviews and meetings
      • Meeting with education specialists to optimize the child’s development
      • Meeting with a school counsellor or principal to discuss behavioural challenges at school
      • Accompanying a student with special needs to ensure he or she can participate in an educational activity
      • Attending a school orientation or registration meeting.



If the employee has worked for any BCMEA employer(s) without interruption for at least three months, the first three days of leave are paid at the regular rate of pay for a normal workday, and such paid leave shall be considered wages. Employees who have worked for any BCMEA employer(s) s fewer than three months without interruption have the right to unpaid leave.

ILWU members and casuals’ salaries vary from one day to another, so their day of paid personal leave is the average of their daily earnings exclusive of overtime hours for the 20 days the employee has worked immediately preceding the first day of leave.

Documentation to support leave

BCMEA may, in writing, no later than 15 days after the employee’s return to work, ask them to provide supporting documents concerning the reasons for the leave. The employee is only required to provide such documents if it is reasonably possible in practice to obtain and provide them.

For example, if an employee used a personal day to take a family member to a medical appointment, it reasonably practicable  to provide a note or letter from the doctor confirming the appointment (however BCMEA does not need to know the specific issue that requires medical attention).

However, if an employee used a personal day to care for a family member who was at home sick but did not receive medical attention, it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to ask the family member to subsequently go to a medical clinic to provide a note for the employee to give to BCMEA, particularly during the COVID public health restrictions.


The criteria that can be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to:

      • Feasibility
      • The reasonableness of the effort required
      • Time
      • Additional costs to the employee
      • The practice.


In certain situations, where it is not reasonably practical for an employee to provide the documentation required by the employer,  they may then provide a written and signed statement in their own hand to attest to the circumstances that led to the employee’s absence.

Please email the completed form to 

Anyone who is denied a personal leave by the BCMEA, Please contact Dave Burton or Randy Chartier at or call (778)837-6832 or (604)404-0422



BCMEA Personal Leave Days Form – Sept 21, 2021

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