REPRESENTING EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES IN OTTAWA, CANADA
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Changes to the Employment Standards Act Recognize the Importance of the Family

NEW FAMILY LEAVES 

Proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act recognize the importance of family and caregiver responsibilities.  In March 2013 the Ontario Government introduced Bill 21 that would, if passed, provide unpaid job-related protection for employees who are needed at home.  

The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013 introduces three new leaves in complement to Family Medical Leave which provides employees with unpaid leave where a family member has a serious medical condition with a risk of death.   

Family Caregiver Leave allows an employee to take up to eight weeks unpaid leave to provide care and support to a family member (including spouse, child, grandparents, siblings, or any other relative dependent on them for care or assistance.  A doctor’s note is required. 

Critically Ill Child Care Leave allows an employee to take up to thirty-seven weeks unpaid leave to provide care to a critically ill child.  A doctor’s note is required 

Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave allows an employee to take up to fifty-two weeks unpaid leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks of unpaid leave for parents of a child who has died as a result of crime. 

If Bill 21 passes, it is likely that changes to the federal Employment Insurance act will follow allowing employees eligible for either Critically Ill Child Care or Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance leave to receive employment insurance benefits during their leave.

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