Ontario proposing job security for family caregivers

Would provide 8 weeks of unpaid job leave for workers
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 12/13/2011

Ontario will be taking steps to protect the jobs of working Ontarians who need to care for seriously ill or injured loved ones.

The provincial government intends to introduce legislation that would, if passed, recognize the importance of family and job security. It would build on the existing family medical leave to provide up to eight weeks of unpaid job leave for employees to provide care and support to a sick or injured family member.

Bill 30, Family Caregiver Leave Act (Employment Standards Amendment), 2011, would, if passed, be separate from the current family medical leave which is available when a family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within 26 weeks.

If passed, caregivers would be eligible for the leave to care for:
•their 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-grand-child 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.

To be eligible for the proposed new leave, an employee would be required to have a medical certificate from a qualified health practitioner stating the employee's family member has a serious medical condition. The employee would have to produce the medical certificate if requested by their employer.

Ontario is also calling on its federal partners to extend employment insurance (EI) to those who take advantage of family caregiver leave, as they do when Ontarians take family medical leave.

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