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Taking Time Off for Personal or Family Reasons - Work out problems

Work out problems

Step 1. Notify your employer

Tell your employer of your interest in taking a leave. If you’re covered by the Employment Standards Act (see if you’re covered), and your request is to take a leave spelled out in the Act, your employer must grant you the leave.  

If your employer turns down your request for leave, you can try raising the issue directly with them. We offer tips to help you talk with your employer. Tell them you think they aren’t following the legal rules in denying your request. 

Your employer is allowed to request that you provide some proof of your eligibility for leave — for example, a note from your child’s doctor if you’re asking for family responsibility leave to care for your sick child. 

It’s always best to resolve issues with your employer informally. That said, you aren’t required to approach your employer before taking the step of filing a complaint (described below). 

Step 2. Write to your employer

If discussing the issue with your employer doesn’t work, or you’re not comfortable having a conversation, consider putting your concerns in writing. Explain your perspective and your interest in working together to find a solution. For example, you could say something like:

“Under the BC Employment Standards Act, I’m entitled to up to 27 weeks of compassionate care leave. I’ve provided a certificate from a doctor stating that my father is at risk of dying within 26 weeks. [Modify to fit your situation.] Yet when I asked to take leave, you refused my request. I’d like to explore solutions to this issue with you as soon as possible.”

We provide tips for writing a letter to your employer

Keep a copy of the letter. Having a written record will be useful if you need to take additional steps.

While it’s always best to resolve issues with your employer informally, you aren’t required to write your employer before taking the step of making a complaint.

Step 3. Make an employment standards complaint

If you aren’t able to resolve things directly with your employer, you can make a formal complaint. Workers covered by the Employment Standards Act (see who’s covered) can make a complaint to the Employment Standards Branch. This government office administers the Act and helps workers and employers resolve problems. For what’s involved, see our guidance on making an employment standards complaint.