Of the many types of leave employees may take under law, unpaid parental and critical illness leaves of absences had some changes starting Dec. 3, 2017, which accountants need to know. If you have any clients with employees, here’s what to do about it.
Parental leave has gotten a lot longer. The lawful leave time for pregnancy has been extended to 61 weeks from 35 weeks for employees who’ve already taken pregnancy leave. For employees who haven’t taken a pregnancy leave, the parental leave has increased to 63 weeks from 37 weeks. These changes are intended to make parental leave amounts more in line with the benefits allowed through the Employment Insurance Act, particularly the ability for employees to spread parental benefits over a longer period of time.
For critical illness leave, the new benefits are available to employees who’ve worked with the same employer for at least six months. The new rules allow these employees to take up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave for the care of a critically ill family member under the age of 18. The new rules also allow employees to take 17 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a critically ill family member age 18 or older. These benefits replace the older Critically Ill Child Care Leave benefits and broadly define a "family member."
Since each client’s business is unique, to comply with these new laws, all business leave policies should be thoroughly reviewed and updated. Work closely with your clients to determine how the new rules will affect their businesses since leave periods are increased, especially employee insurance benefits received from the government and/or matched to a degree by the employer.
The new unpaid parental and critical illness leave rules are in place as of Dec. 3, 2017. If you haven’t started discussing these changes with your clients yet, now is the time to do it so you can fully comply with the updates.