On April 29, 2014 Ontario's provincial legislature voted in
favour of proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act,
2000. The much-publicized Bill-21, also known as An Act to amend the
Employment Standards Act, 2000 in respect of family caregiver,
critically ill child care and crime-related child death or
disappearance leaves of absence provides additional
job-protected leaves of absence to accommodate employees with
family caregiver responsibilities.
Once in effect, the Employment Standards Act will be amended to
provide three additional forms of job-protected leaves of
Family Caregiver Leave: Employees will be
entitled to take up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave,
in each calendar year, to provide care and support to a defined
family member with a serious medical condition diagnosed by a
qualified health practitioner. The entitlement will be up to
eight weeks' duration for each defined family member with a
serious medical condition.
Critically Ill Child Care Leave:
Employees who have been employed for at least six consecutive
months will be entitled to take unpaid, job-protected leave, to
provide care or support for a critically ill child, as defined in
the Employment Insurance Act, upon issuance of a certificate by a
qualified health practitioner stating that the child is critically
ill. The leave will last as long as the time required for the
child's care as stated in the certificate, up to a maximum of
37 weeks, and will not replicate for multiple, critically ill
Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance
Leave: Employees who have been employed for at least
six consecutive months will be entitled to up to 104 weeks of
unpaid, job protected leave if their child, under 18 years of age,
dies, and the likely cause of death is related to the commission of
a crime. Employees who have been employed for at least six
consecutive months will also be entitled to up to 52 weeks of
unpaid, job-protected leave if their child, under 18 years of age,
goes missing, and the likely cause of their disappearance is
related to the commission of a crime. However, the employee
will have neither entitlement if the employee is charged with the
crime, or the child is a probable party to the crime.
In a news release published today, the Ministry of Labour noted
that the amendments to the Employment Standards Act bring the
provincial legislation in sync with the Federal Employment
Insurance Act which provides benefits for employees who have to
take leaves of absence from work in order to fulfill family
The amendments to the Employment Standards Act will come into
effect on the day that is six months after the day that the Bill
receives Royal Assent. Employers in Ontario will want to
become familiar with new rights to job-protected leaves of absence
for their employees, and will have to be prepared to make
arrangements to effectively conduct their business in the, possibly
lengthy, absence of certain employees. Employers should also
start reviewing their current sick leave/leave of absence policies
to ensure they will not be providing employees with duplicative
leave entitlements, or inadvertently provide additional leave in
addition to the statutory provisions, in the event that the bill is
passed into law.
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.
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