Alberta Expands Bereavement and Reservist Leaves

Global HR

​On April 21, the Alberta government introduced Bill 17, the Labor Statutes Amendment Act, 2022, which expands leaves under the Employment Standard Code (the ESC), effective May 31.

Bill 17 also amends the Labor Relations Code to allow postsecondary representatives to continue representing members in collective bargaining indefinitely. These changes are scheduled to take effect on July 1.

Bereavement Leave Expanded

Bill 17 amends the ESC to allow employees who have been employed with the same employer for at least 90 days and who would have been parents, such as biological, adoptive or surrogate parents, to take bereavement leave when a pregnancy ends other than in a live birth. This change provides employees time to grieve with the assurance of job security when they return to work.

Under the ESC, employees are entitled to a maximum of three days bereavement leave annually.

Removal of 20-Day Limit on Reservist Leave

Bill 17 further amends the ESC so that reservists who have worked at least 12 consecutive weeks for the same employer are no longer restricted to a 20-day limit on reservist leave to attend annual reservist training. Rather, eligible employees are now able to take as much unpaid time as they need to participate in such activities.


Employers should carefully consider their leave policies and practices to assess whether any changes are necessary to ensure compliance with the expansion of both bereavement and reservist leave.

Justin Turc is an attorney with McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Lindsay Nguyen, a law student, is clerking at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Calgary. © 2022 McCarthy Tétrault LLP. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.

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