Self-Isolation and COVID-19: Your Employer Can’t Discipline or Fire You

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Do you have to self-isolate due to COVID-19? Are you worried that you might lose your job if you don’t show up to work? The Quebec government has announced new rules that will protect you.

You can’t be disciplined or fired

If you must self-isolate on the advice of public health or your doctor, your employer cannot fire or discipline you for missing work. You can miss up to 14 straight days. However, your employer is not required to pay you during your absence.

This new rule applies to workers protected by the Act respecting labour standards as well as those who are protected in-part, like construction workers and management.

If your employer doesn’t respect the law

You must first try to speak with your employer. If that doesn’t work, you can file a complaint with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board). You must file your complaint within 45 days of being fired or disciplined.

If the CNESST decides that your complaint is valid, you and your employer can decide to use the CNESST’s mediation service. If you decide not to try mediation or if the mediation fails, the CNESST will forward your complaint to the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT or administrative labour tribunal). The TAT will then hear your case.

To learn more about the rules surrounding COVID-19 and the workplace, the CNESST has an FAQ on their website.