I have COVID-19. Can I take time off work?

If you think you have COVID-19, it's important to get tested at an assessment centre. You can do an online assessment first or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 before getting tested.

Once you've gotten tested or done the online assessment, you'll get instructions. One of the instructions could be to self-isolate. This means you must not leave your home for any reason other than to get urgent medical care.

Getting your test result

It usually takes 1 or 2 days to get your test result but can take longer.

If your test is negative, ask someone from your local public health department when you can stop self-isolating. Usually, you can stop if:

  • you don't have a fever,
  • your symptoms have been getting better for at least 24 hours, and
  • you haven't had any nausea, diarrhea, vomiting or stomach pain for at least 48 hours.

But you could be asked to self-isolate for longer.

If your test is positive, public health will order you either to continue self-isolating or start self-isolating if you have not been told to do so already.

The amount of time you must self-isolate depends on your situation. Usually, you must self-isolate for 10 days even if you are fully vaccinated. But sometimes you will have to isolate for longer:

  • 14 days if you've been travelling outside of Canada in the last 2 weeks
  • 20 days if you were in hospital because of COVID-19 or are severely immune-compromised

Any person who you were in close contact with in the last 2 weeks will also have to self-isolate for 10 days unless they are fully vaccinated. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated don't have to isolate.

Taking time off work

If you have vacation time or paid sick leave through your employer, you may be able to use that while you're sick with COVID-19.

Ontario also has a new program for paid sick days, called Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL). Employees can take up to 3 paid days off if they're sick because of COVID-19. For more information, read Can I get paid sick days if I have COVID-19?

You can also use the unpaid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. You can take unpaid IDEL for as long as you have COVID-19. Read When can I take a leave from work because of COVID-19? for more information.

Getting legal help

If you're having trouble getting time off work, you might want to get legal help.

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