Ontario Providing More Support for Families
Back in March, 2013, I wrote about what job protections are available when a family member gets sick and you need to take leave from work.
Currently, if a family member is terminally ill, an employee is entitled to 8 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave. This is called “Family Medical Leave”. An employee who takes Family Medical Leave is also eligible to apply for up to 6 weeks of Compassionate Care Benefits under the Federal Employment Insurance Act.
As I had written, the Ontario Government is once again proposing to add additional unpaid job-protected leave for caregivers, attempting to create “Family Caregiver Leave” and allow an employee up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a family member who has a serious medical condition.
Below is a news release from the Ministry of Labour from September 25, 2013 saying that the Bill has passed a second reading:
Family Caregivers Bill Passes Second Reading
Today, Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013, passed second reading after debate in the Ontario legislature. If passed, the bill would allow caregivers to focus their attention on what matters most — providing care and support to their loved ones — without the fear of losing their job.
The act would build on the existing Family Medical Leave by creating three new job-protected leaves:
- Family Caregiver Leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care and support to a family member with a serious medical condition.
- Critically Ill Child Care Leave: up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care to a critically ill child.
- Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave: up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a child that has died as a result of a crime.
Bill 21 has now been referred to the Standing Committee on General Government and public hearings are expected the week of December 4, 2013.
Allowing caregivers to focus on what matters most is part of the Ontario government’s plan to protect workers and strengthen their rights while helping people in their everyday lives.
- The proposed legislation would create leaves separate from the current Family Medical Leave.
- A doctor’s note would be required to qualify for Family Caregiver Leave and Critically Ill Child Care Leave.
- The Critically Ill Child Care Leave and Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave are necessary to give families access to new Federal benefits.
Our government is committed to passing these leaves because what Ontarians need most when caring for seriously ill or injured family members is the time to be with their loved ones. These Leaves to Help Families would strengthen job security and is the right thing to do for Ontario families.”
Minister of Labour