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New Leaves of Absence

  • Issued: October 16, 2014
  • Content last reviewed: March 2015

On October 29, 2014, Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2014 came into force.

The bill amended the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to create three new job-protected leaves.

Family Caregiver Leave

Up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition.

Critically Ill Child Care Leave

Up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care to a critically ill child.

Crime-Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave

Unpaid, job-protected leave for parents whose child is missing or has died as a result of a crime.

More information

The ministry has developed a medical certificate document [197 Kb] that could be used for family caregiver leave, critically ill child care leave and/or family medical leave (which has been in the ESA since 2004).

The bill also establishes a rule that affects how family medical leave is to be taken. Family medical leave is an existing unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care or support to certain individuals who have a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks.

An employee can take up to eight weeks of family medical leave in a 26-week period. “Week” is defined as running from Sunday to Saturday. Employees will not always need or want to take an entire week off to provide care or support to the individual. As of October 29, 2014, if an employee who takes family medical leave during a week stops providing care or support before the end of that week (i.e. before Saturday), the employee will be entitled to remain on leave until the end of the week, and, is allowed to return to work before the end of the week only if the employer agrees.