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Normandin Beaudry

Leaves owing to a criminal offence


There, in black and white

Bulletin NB Vol. 11 N. 2, February 2008

Quebec's Act respecting labour standards, specifically the section dealing with leaves owing to a criminal offence, has recently been amended. In this information bulletin, Normandin Beaudry presents the highlights of these amendments, which took effect on December 18, 2007.

This bulletin will be of particular interest to benefits administrators because some revisions to employee benefits or internal policies may be required.

An employee may now be absent from work, without pay, for a period not exceeding 104 weeks if the employee suffers serious bodily injury during or resulting directly from a criminal offence that renders the employee unable to hold his regular position1. Criminal offence refers to a criminal offence within the meaning of the Criminal Code and recognized under the Crime Victims Compensation Act2. Bodily injury corresponds to a serious physical or psychological injury, including a pregnancy resulting from the commission of a sexual offence or assault.

The employee is also entitled to the same period of leave if his/her minor child suffers a serious bodily injury following a criminal offence or if the employee's child or spouse dies as a result of such an offence. The employee has the right to be absent from work for up to 52 weeks if the employee's child or spouse commits suicide or if the employee's minor child disappears.

Return to work

The period of leave begins not earlier than the day on which the criminal offence is committed and ends no later than 52 or 104 weeks (as applicable) from this date. The employee may return to work on a part-time basis or intermittently during leave with his employer's consent.


To be entitled to these leaves, the employee must have a minimum of three months of continuous service. In addition, at the employer's request, the employee must be able to demonstrate that the serious bodily injury or death is the direct result of a criminal offence or that the individual who has disappeared is in danger. The victim is not required to wait for the person who committed the offence to be convicted if it may be inferred from the circumstances that the situation is probably the result of a criminal offence.

However, the employee is not entitled to these leaves if the circumstances demonstrate that the employee or the deceased individual (spouse or adult child) was a party to the criminal offence or contributed to the injury by a gross fault.3

Plans Participation during the period of leave

In the event of a leave of absence in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the employee's participation in the group insurance and pension plans recognized in the employee's place of employment will not be affected, subject to regular payment of contributions payable under these plans. The employer will continue to pay its usual portion.

  1. Consult the interpretation document in French provided by the labour standards website.
  2. Consult the CVC act.
  3. Which denotes his lack of concern about the dangers he/she has created.



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