New Ontario Job-Protected Leaves

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On March 5, 2013, the Ontario government introduced new legislation which, if passed, would create three new job-protected leaves.

The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013, proposes new leaves that build on the existing Family Medical Leave under the ESA.  They are as follows:

Family Caregiver Leave - up to 8 weeks of unpaid 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 upaid leave to provide care to a critically ill child.

Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave - up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks of unpaid leave for parents of a child that has died as a result of a crime.

If passed, the leaves would allow parents and other family caregivers to provide care and support for loved ones without fear of losing their jobs.  These leaves are in addition to 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 for the Family Caregiver Leave and the Critically Ill Child Care Leave.

Complementing the new federal Helping Families in Need Act, employees covered by the Critically Ill Child Care Leave and the Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave would be eligible to apply for federal Employment Insurance benefits.

The Ontario’s government’s news release and “backgrounder” may be accessed here.