Building on the existing Family Medical Leave under the Employment Standards Act, the Ontario government is planning to expand the protected leave from work by allowing caregivers to spend more time with family members who cannot care for themselves because of serious injury or illness including cancer or stroke. The new Family Caregiver Leave will be separate from, and in addition to, the Family Medical Leave.
Currently, the Family Medical Leave (in other jurisdiction it is known as Compassionate Care Leave), employees are entitled to an eight-week unpaid leave of absence to take care of loved ones who are terminally ill and may die within a 26-week period.
This means, whether a young child spends time in the hospital or an elderly parent suffers a broken hip or is diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer, an employee would be granted eight weeks of unpaid time off to care for and support their family members.
It also means that if a relative’s condition becomes terminal while the employee is on Family Caregiver Leave, the employee would also be entitled to take eight unpaid weeks of Family Medical Leave.
This new legislation would be introduced when the Legislative Assembly resumes sitting in the fall.
The Ontario government is also calling on the Federal government to extend Employment Insurance Compassionate Care EI benefits to those who take advantage of the new Family Caregiver Leave, just as they do when Ontarians take Family Medical Leave.
A doctor’s note would be required in order to qualify for Family Caregiver Leave. And I am sure there will be notice provisions to take the leave and to resume work after the leave.
We will keep you updated when the Bill to introduce the leave under the Employment Standards Act is tabled. If the current government is re-elected.
First Reference Inc. Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor