As you read about
here, 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
These changes come into effect next month, on October
29, 2014. This legislation amends the Employment
Standards Act, 2000 ("ESA") to provide
three additional forms of job-protected leaves of absence:
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 children.
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.
If, as an employer, you are not already familiar with the new
rights and entitlements for employees related to these
job-protected leaves of absence, it is imperative that you inform
yourself over the next month: While most employers probably
won't experience one of these situations right away – and
ideally never will, especially with respect to the latter two
– the first request for any such leave may wreak havoc with
an employer's operation. No one can plan for every
contingency, but awareness of the entitlements provided will be key
to effectively conducting business in the event of a lengthy
absence of an employee, as well as in properly planning for that
If it has not already been done in conjunction with these
imminent changes to the ESA, current sick leave and/or
leave-of-absence policies should be reviewed to ensure employees
are not being provided with duplicative leave entitlements, or
inadvertently provided with additional leave in addition to the
The lawyers at CCPartners are experienced in helping employers
understand their legal obligations under the Employment
Standards Act, and assisting clients to understand their
options when faced with the absence of an employee.
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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