Albertans now eligible for compassionate care leave

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by Morinville News Staff

Edmonton – Albertans can now take up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave from work to care for a gravely ill family member. Like mothers on maternity leave, employees taking compassionate care leave can return to the same or similar position with their employers when they return to the job. The legislation came into effect Feb. 1.

“No one’s job should be in jeopardy when they take time off work to care for a loved one,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, in a release Saturday. “Compassionate care leave supports families when they’re at their most vulnerable.”

Compassionate care leave provision within Alberta’s Employment Standards Code were included in the passage of Bill 203, brought forward by Matt Jeneroux, MLA for Edmonton-South West. Jeneroux said he was pleased to see compassionate care leave now available in the province. “Having job security will reduce stress for people who are dealing with an incredibly difficult time in their lives,” he said in Saturday’s release.

In order to be eligible for the leave, employees must have worked at least 52 weeks for their employer and they must provide their employer with a certificate signed by the attending physician regarding the grave condition of the family member and his or her need for care. The eight-week compassionate care leave may be split into two sections but must be taken within a 26-week period. Some compassionate care leave employees may be eligible for six weeks of Employment Insurance benefits.

The addition to the Alberta Employment Standards Code provides some stability and certainty to those caring for seriously family members. Dan Holinda, Executive Director, Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division supports the move. “Protecting the jobs of family caregivers ensures Albertans can be there to provide invaluable support to loved ones living with cancer or another serious disease.”

The Alberta Employment Standards Code may be viewed online at qp.alberta.ca/1266.cfm?page=E09.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779725663

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