Paid Time Off (PTO) in The Northwest Territories
Vacation Leave Quota
2 or 3 weeks of vacation.
An employee has a right to a minimum of 2 weeks off work for vacation after the first year of employment. An employee’s vacation must start no later than 6 months after the end of the year of employment for which the employee became eligible for a vacation.
In The Northwest Territories employees are entitled to:
- a minimum of 2 weeks’ vacation after each of the first 5 years of working for the same employer
- a minimum of 3 weeks’ vacation after 6 years of working for the same employer.
4% or 6% of gross wages.
Employees are entitled to vacation pay of:
- 4% of gross wages for the first 5 years of employment
- 6% of gross wages upon completion of the 5th year of employment.
The vacation pay must be paid at least one day before the beginning of the vacation.
PTO accruals aren’t mandatory in The Northwest Territories, but are widely used by companies.
Employers are generally free to design their own vacation accrual system, although it is usually based on the pay period (payroll cycle).
Roll Over (Carry Over, Brought Forward)
The “use-it-or-lose-it” policy is illegal in The Northwest Territories.
The “use-it-or-lose-it” refers to a policy or benefit that requires employees to use a certain amount of vacation time within a certain timeframe, or risk losing it.
Statutory Provisions Addressing Vacation Pay
Vacation is considered earned wages.
Payment of Accrued, Unused Vacation on Termination
The employee’s earnings must be paid upon termination of employment.
Sick Leave in The Northwest Territories
5 days of unpaid leave.
Employees who have worked for at least 30 days and are incapable of performing work due to illness or injury are entitled to up to 5 days of unpaid leave per year.
A written notice and a medical certificate are required if leave exceeds 3 consecutive days.
Sick leave in The Northwest Territories is unpaid.
Compassionate Care Leave
Up to 27 weeks of unpaid leave.
An employee is entitled to up to 27 weeks of unpaid leave within 52 weeks to care for and support a seriously ill family member with a significant risk of dying.
Leave may be taken in separate periods, no shorter than a week. Leave may be shared by 2 or more employees working for the same employer, not to exceed 27 weeks.
A written notice is required. An employer may require a medical certificate.
Family Caregiver Leave (Leave Related to Critical Illness)
Up to 17 or 37 weeks of unpaid leave.
Employees are entitled to up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a critically ill child under the age of 18 and up to 17 weeks to care for a critically ill adult who is 18 years of age or older within the 52-week period of time.
Leave may be taken in separate periods, no shorter than a week. Leave may be shared by 2 or more employees, not to exceed the given time for leave.
An employer may request a medical certificate from an employee.
Family Violence Leave
Up to 10 days and 15 weeks per year.
Eligible employees are entitled to take the:
- up to 10 days of leave (of which 5 days are paid and 5 days are unpaid) per year, and
- up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave per year
if the employee or a child of the employee experiences family violence.
Leave may be taken for any of the following reasons:
- to seek medical attention for the employee or the child of the employee in respect of a physical or psychological injury or disability caused by family violence;
- to obtain services from a victim services organization for the employee or the child of the employee;
- to obtain psychological or other professional counseling for the employee or the child of the employee;
- to relocate temporarily or permanently;
- to seek legal or law enforcement assistance, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from family violence;
- any other prescribed purposes.
Employers may require verification for leave.
Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leave in The Northwest Territories
Pregnancy Leave (Maternity Leave)
Up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave.
An eligible employee is entitled to up to 17 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave. Leave can begin up to 17 weeks before the expected birth date.
To be eligible for pregnancy leave, an employee must have been employed by the same employer for at least 12 consecutive months before the beginning of pregnancy leave.
Employees must provide the employer with written notice at least 4 weeks in advance and, if required, a medical certificate. Leave can be extended if the actual date of delivery occurs after the estimated date of delivery. The extension must not exceed 6 weeks. Employees are entitled to 6 more weeks of leave after the delivery.
Pregnancy leave in The Northwest Territories is unpaid.
Up to 61 weeks of unpaid leave.
Eligible employees are entitled to up to 61 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to care for:
- a newborn child of the employee;
- a child recently adopted by the employee;
- a child with respect to whom the employee has commenced adoption proceedings.
Parental leave may be shared and, in that case, it must not exceed 69 weeks.
Leave must be taken during the period of time beginning on the day of the child’s birth or the day on which the child arrives at home and ending:
- 78 weeks after that time, if parental leave is taken by one employee
- 86 weeks after that time, if parental leave is taken by more than one employee.
A written notice is required.
Parental leave in The Northwest Territories is unpaid.
Bereavement Leave in The Northwest Territories
3 or 7 days of unpaid leave.
An employee is entitled to unpaid bereavement leave to attend the funeral of, or memorial service for, a family member. Employees are entitled to up to 3 days if the funeral or memorial service takes place in the community in which the employee resides and up to 7 days if it takes place outside the community.
Bereavement leave in The Northwest Territories is unpaid.
Jury Duty Leave in The Northwest Territories
A leave without pay.
An employee is entitled to court leave, without pay, as may be required to:
- answer a summons for selection to serve on a jury;
- serve on a jury; or
- answer a summons to appear as a witness in a legal proceeding.
An employee is entitled to as much court leave as is required to serve jury or witness duty.
Employers are not required to pay employees who miss work to attend court. However, jurors can claim an allowance or compensation for time spent in court. In The Northwest Territories, jurors receive $80 per day.
If an employee is granted court leave with pay, the employee must, upon request from the employer, reimburse the employer for any jury fees or witness fees they may have received, minus any sums for travel, food, or accommodation.
Reservists’ Leave in The Northwest Territories
Unlimited unpaid leave.
Employees who are members of the reserve force and work for the same employer for at least 6 consecutive months are entitled to unpaid leave to:
- participation in an operation, exercise, training, or other military activity
- treatment, recovery, or rehabilitation in respect of a physical or mental health problem that results from participation in an operation, exercise, training, or other military activity.
Employees must provide four weeks of notice to their employers.
The length of leave is not specified, leave can be taken as long as it is necessary to accommodate the service.
Reservists’ leave is unpaid.
Voting Leave in The Northwest Territories
Up to 3 consecutive hours of paid leave.
An employer is required to provide their employees with up to 3 consecutive hours of paid leave, for the purpose of voting.
The employer is not obligated to give time off if the hours needed fall outside the employee’s working hours but are still within the voting hours. This means that employees are not eligible for additional time off if they only work a few hours on election day, or already have 3 consecutive hours available before or after their shift.
Voting leave is paid by the employer.
The 2023 Statutory Holidays in The Northwest Territories
The statutory holidays in The Northwest Territories for 2023 are:
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Victoria Day
- National Indigenous Peoples Day
- Canada Day
- The first Monday in August
- Labour Day
- National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
- Thanksgiving Day
- Remembrance Day
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
- Government of The Northwest Territories – Employment Standards, https://www.ece.gov.nt.ca/en/services/employment-standards
- Northwest Territories > Consolidated Statutes > Employment Standards Act, SNWT 2007, c 13, https://www.canlii.org/en/nt/laws/stat/snwt-2007-c-13/latest/snwt-2007-c-13.html
- Northwest Territories Employment Law, https://www.replicon.com/regulation/northwest-territories/
Updated: January 11, 2023
Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.