There are recent media reports about the new Federal government
agreeing to carry forward with the expansion of compassionate care
leave benefits. The previous government passed legislation in June
which provided that effective January 3, 2016;
compassionate care leave under the Canada Labour Code would be
expanded from 8 weeks to 28 weeks, and
employees eligible for compassionate care leave would be
eligible for up to 26 weeks of Employment Insurance benefits.
What does this mean for employers?
If you are an employer whose employment standards provisions are
federally regulated, for example a
radio or television station; or
interprovincial transport company;
then your employees are eligible for this increased amount of
compassionate care leave, provided that the employee qualifies
under the provisions of the Canada Labour Code.
If you are any other employer, then these changes do not impact
you. The requirement that you provide your employees with
compassionate care leave is regulated by your provincial or
territorial employment standards legislation. In Alberta, the NWT
and Nunavut, compassionate care leave remains limited to eight
weeks. Unless you have agreed with your employees, for example
through a collective agreement, to provide a greater amount of
compassionate care leave, this is your only legal obligation.
While the Employment Insurance Act has changed to allow
for claims of up to 26 weeks, that change does not require you to
provide any additional compassionate care leave.
It remains to be seen whether the territories and provinces will
follow the lead of the Federal government in amending their
employment standards legislation to provide for a greater period of
compassionate care leave.
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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