Proposed Family Caregiver Leave goes through Second Reading

Bill 30, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in respect of family caregiver leave, went through its second reading last week.

If passed, the bill will introduce a new unpaid leave of absence for up to eight weeks per year for employees who need to care for a sick or injured family member.

An employee will be entitled to a leave to provide care for an individual in the list below provided  a qualified health practitioner issues a certificate stating that the individual has a serious medical condition:

  1. The employee’s spouse.
  2. A parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  3. A child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  4. A grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  5. The spouse of a child of the employee.
  6. The employee’s brother or sister.
  7. A relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance.

The employer may ask for a copy of the medical certificate. The employee will be required to advise the employer in writing that they are taking family caregiver leave. If the employee is unable to give advance notice, they must do so as soon as possible after commencing the leave. The leave must be taken in full weeks.

Currently, the Employment Standards Act, 2000, provides a family medical leave for employees to care or support a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a 26 week period.

The new family caregiver leave requires that the individual have a “serious medical condition”.  Unfortunately, the bill provides no guidance as to the definition of “serious medical condition”.

We will keep you updated as developments continue.

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