Compassionate Leave Ontario – Know Your Rights

In Ontario, compassionate leave is available to all provincial employees under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) whether full-time, part-time, permanent, or term contract. Employees can request compassionate leave under either the “Family Medical Leave” or “Family Caregiver Leave” provisions of the ESA.

Compassionate Leave Under Family Medical Leave

An employee covered under the ESA is entitled to family medical leave for up to 28 weeks, without pay, to provide care to certain family members. Family members include, but are not limited to, the employee’s spouse, parents, children, and siblings. To be eligible for family medical leave, a qualified health practitioner must provide a certificate stating that the employee’s family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring with 26 weeks. 

Compassionate Leave Under Family Caregiver Leave

An employee covered under ESA is entitled to family caregiver leave for up to 8 weeks, without pay, to provide care to certain family members. To be eligible for family caregiver leave, a qualified health practitioner must provide a certificate stating that the employee’s family member has a serious medical condition. Unlike family medical leave, the employee’s family does not need to face a risk of death within a 26-week period. A serious medical condition can include a condition that is chronic or episodic. 

How To Give Notice For Compassionte Leave

An employee must inform their employer, in writing, that they will be taking compassionate leave. If the employee was required to go on leave before they could provide their employer with written notice, the employee must provide this notice as soon as possible after starting their leave.

Employment Insurance During Compassionate Leave

Employees taking compassionate leave can access three types of paid benefits under Employment Insurance:

  • Family caregiver benefit for children (under 18) – up to 35 weeks
  • Family caregiver benefit for adults (over 18) – up to 15 weeks
  • Compassionate care benefits – up to 26 weeks

Family caregiver benefits apply when the employee is providing care to critically ill or injured persons. Compassionate care benefits apply when the employee is providing care to a person requiring end-of-life care. To learn more about your employment insurance entitlements, visit the Government of Ontario website.

Employees Are Protected By The ESA For Compassionate Leave

Employers are obligated to permit employees to take compassionate care leave. If you are encountering difficulties in taking leave, perhaps because your employer is threatening to discipline or terminate you, consider speaking with an employment lawyer at Monkhouse Law. 

Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm located in Toronto, focusing on employees’ issues. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form. We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.

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