Can an employer discipline an employee for taking time off work for a medical appointment? What if the employee is still on the probation period? I won't get into specific details, but a somewhat urgent need for me to see a specialist came up and the soonest appointment he has conflicts with my work schedule. The manager is saying he cannot change the schedule.

2 Answers 2


BC employers are required to give workers three days of unpaid personal illness & injury leave per calendar year. However, this protection only applies to workers who have held a job for more than 90 days. If you have not held the job for that long, it does not appear that any protections apply to you. Note that (as of March 2021) there are separate rules concerning COVID-19 exposure & illness.

There may also be protections that apply to you if you are a union member, or if you work in a federally regulated job (banks, national trucking companies, airlines, and some others.)


The manager can change the schedule if you are run over by a bus. Or if your urgent need for a specialist makes you collapse on the way to work. I suppose you can judge yourself whether the manager can’t change the schedule or if it is a slight inconvenience for him which is more important than your health.

Take the matter to HR. Tell them what’s the worst case that can happen if you can’t get your appointment and ask if they would want to pay for damages to your health. Worst case, you decide whether your health is more important than his schedule.

  • 3
    I wouldn't follow the advice in this answer unless I were certain that it came from someone with specific knowledge of BC employment law or perhaps if I were prepared to walk away from the job.
    – phoog
    Mar 24, 2021 at 12:27
  • 1
    Agree with @phoog. This might be good (or maybe not so good) The Workplace advice, but it does not answer at all one way or the other for law.se.
    – Damila
    Mar 24, 2021 at 15:04

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