Sick Leave for Workers with Ill or Injured Relatives
Dalton McGuinty has announced that, if re-elected, he intends to expand protected leave from work to employees to allow them to care for family members who cannot care for themselves due to serious injury or illness.
Currently, the Family Medical Leave plan allows employees to take up to eight weeks of unpaid leave to care for terminally ill family members. Under the expanded plan, employees would be entitled to the same eight week unpaid leave in order to care for ill or injured family members.
The plan is in addition to the eight weeks of protected leave afforded to employees with terminally ill family members.
Under the current plan, “family members” receives a broad definition: in addition to immediate family members, the definition includes foster children; siblings-in-law, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews of the employee or the employee’s spouse; spouses of the employee’s grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews or nieces; and persons “who consider the employee to be like a family member”.
The employee must be “providing care” to the person. “Care” includes providing psychological or emotional support, or arranging care by a third party.
It is not clear whether the plan would allow employees protected leave to care for elderly or incapable family members. The press releases define the criteria for eligibility as “a serious injury or illness, including cancer or a stroke”.
At present, there is no corresponding Employment Insurance benefit during such leave (there is for leave for employees with terminally ill family members). The Ontario Government is calling on the federal government to extent Employment Insurance benefits to those taking advantage of the proposed expanded program.
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Paul E. Trudelle – Click here for more information on Paul Trudelle.