Although many employers may have offered leave to an employee to
care for a critically ill family member either informally or
through an internal policy, the Code now provides clear
statutory obligations on both employers and employees.
The amendments will allow an employee who is the primary
caregiver of a seriously ill family member to take an unpaid,
job-protected leave of up to eight consecutive weeks. In order to
qualify, the employee must have worked for the employer for a
period of at least 52 consecutive weeks (part-time or full-time).
In addition, the employee must provide their employer with a
physician's certificate stating that the family member has a
serious medical condition and that there is a significant risk that
the family member will die within 26 weeks. The leave may be taken
consecutively or in two periods, so long as it fits into the
26-week period established by the physician's certificate.
The leave period must be at least one week long.
The definition of "family member" in the Code
a spouse or common-law partner;
a child of the employee or a child of the employee's spouse
or common-law partner;
a parent of the employee or the parent's spouse or
common-law partner; and
any other classes of persons designated in the
The Regulations expand on this definition to
include: siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles,
nephews, nieces and any other person considered to be like a close
relative to the employee.
An employee must give two weeks' notice of their intention
to take leave and provide the physician's certificate in
advance, unless circumstances do not allow them to do so. In
addition, an employee must provide two weeks' notice of the
date that they plan to return to work, unless the employer agrees
to a shorter notice period. During a compassionate care leave, an
employee is considered to continuously employed for the purposes of
determining any entitlements set out in the Code.
Provided that the employee meets the eligibility requirements,
an employer must grant compassionate care leave and may not
terminate or lay off an employee once the leave begins. Once the
employee returns from the leave, they are entitled to be reinstated
in their previous position or a comparable position. Employees may
also qualify for Employment Insurance while on leave.
Employers should become familiar with the new obligations
concerning compassionate care leave and ensure any existing
policies and procedures are in accordance with the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).