New provisions for family caregiver leave
On December 8, 2011, the Ontario Liberal Government introduced Bill 30, entitled the Family Caregiver Act that builds upon the existing Family Medical Leave (Compassionate Care Leave). This Act intends to create an additional entitlement to a leave of absence from work while the employee’s job is protected. If the Bill is enacted, it will come into force on July 1, 2012.
The proposed Act will provide for an unpaid leave of absence for up to eight weeks to allow an employee to provide care and support to a sick or injured family member. The Act allows the employer to request a certificate from a qualified medical practitioner certifying that the relative has a “serious medical condition”.
A “qualified health practitioner” means a person who is qualified to practise medicine under the laws of the jurisdiction in which care or treatment is provided to the individual described below or, in the prescribed circumstances, a member of a prescribed class of health practitioners.
The scope of the individuals covered include:
- The employee’s spouse
- A parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse
- A child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse
- A grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse
- The spouse of a child of the employee
- The employee’s brother or sister
- A relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance
- Any individual prescribed as a family member for the purpose of this section
The employee requesting such leave must advise his employer in writing as soon as practical of his intention to take the leave, preferably before the leave is to start. Obviously, given the nature of the underlying problem, there may be circumstances where a start date can not be adequately predicted, and the Act provides for some