The new Ontario government is taking steps to protect the jobs of working men and women in the province who need to care for seriously ill or injured loved ones or deal with a crime-related loss or disappearance of a child.
The proposed Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013 was introduced on March 5. The new amendments would recognize the importance of family and job security, and 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.
If passed, the legislation would allow caregivers to focus their attention on providing care and support to their loved ones without the fear of losing their job.
"The one thing working Ontarians need most when it comes to caring for seriously ill or injured family members is the time to be with their loved ones," Yasir Naqvi, Ontario's minister of labour, said in a release. "These proposed leaves are a matter of compassion, and the right thing to do for Ontario families."
•The leaves that would be created by the proposed legislation would 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.
•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 would complement new benefits created under the federal Helping Families in Need Act.