Accidents happen, and they never strike at a convenient time. When an employee has a family emergency that may require a lengthy absence, compassionate care leave provides job protection so that employees know that their jobs are secure while caring for a loved one.
Compassionate care benefits are available for employees who are taking care of a terminally-ill family member, planning for end-of-life or long-term care, or giving emotional support to a family member after trauma. This federally protected leave of absence allows an individual worker to take up to 28 weeks off per year, or permits two family members who work in the same organization to divide the time. A doctor’s note is required in some cases, and a one-week waiting period applies before the benefit begins to accumulate time.
This type of leave can be combined with other company benefits, such as sick leave and work-related injury or illness. Once the employee uses the other benefits, compassionate care kicks in. If an employee needs to use sick leave or has other work-related paid benefits, compassionate care can be divided to extend the worker’s time off. In other words, an employee may use 12 weeks of compassionate care leave, followed by two weeks of sick leave, and claim the remaining 16 weeks under this benefit. The interruption of leave for other benefits is allowed under the Canada Labour Code, and in some cases the company wage loss indemnity plan can serve the employee with a comparable benefit. Compassionate care leave lets employees deal with life, family, and health changes with the confidence that they will be able to keep their job after an extended time off work.