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Compassionate Care Leave


Policy Statement

Compassionate care leave, taken in the form of unpaid leave, may be available to employees to provide care or support to a family member that has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death.


Application

This policy applies to all employees. Bargaining unit employees should also consult their respective collective agreement and the provisions of the collective agreement shall prevail.


Definitions

Compassionate care leave:
Unpaid leave period of up to 28 weeks, including job protection for the same period, to provide care or support to a family member where a legally qualified medical practitioner issues a certificate stating that the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.

Family member:    
mother or stepmother father or stepfather   legal guardian
brother or stepbrother sister or stepsister child or stepchild
spouse grandmother grandfather
grandchild mother-in-law father-in-law
son-in-law daughter-in-law brother-in-law
sister-in-law near relative living in the same household  


Responsibilities

Department

It is the responsibility of departments to manage unpaid leave such that it does not unduly interfere with operational requirements.

It is the responsibility of Deputy Ministers to approve applications for unpaid leave under this policy. 

Human Resource Secretariat

It is the responsibility of the Human Resource Secretariat to:

  • review this policy and propose revisions to Treasury Board as required;
  • provide policy interpretations and advice to departments when required;
  • maintain complete records of any unpaid leave in the employee’s personal file; and
  • facilitate processing of unpaid leave and related issues.

Employees

It is the responsibility of employees to:

  • provide any certificates or other documentation as deemed necessary by the employer;
  • submit a written request to the Deputy Minister for a period of unpaid leave;
  • provide 14 days written notice for any changes to the leave period; and
  • consult with Service Canada on their eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits.


Eligibility

Employees may be eligible for compassionate care leave to provide care or support to a family member of the employee where a legally qualified medical practitioner issues a certificate stating that the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks from:

  1. the day the certificate is issued; or
  2. the day the leave began, if leave began before the certificate was issued.


Application and Approval Process

Employees considering applying for compassionate care leave must make written application to their Deputy Minister for approval and provide no less than 14 days notice before the unpaid leave is intended to begin, unless there is a valid reason why notice cannot be given.

The written application must include:

  • the length of the unpaid leave period, up to 28 weeks, that the employee is requesting; and
  • a copy of the certificate issued by the legally qualified practitioner or the anticipated date upon which the certificate will be available.

An employee, who is taking compassionate care leave, must provide no less than 14 days notice to change the length of the intended unpaid leave period, unless there is a valid reason why notice cannot be given.

Unless the certificate has been provided prior to the commencement of leave, a certificate shall be provided not less than 15 days upon written request from the employer.

 

General Conditions

The compassionate care leave, up to 28 weeks, must be taken within a 52 week period of being approved.

The compassionate care leave will be taken as unpaid leave, beginning with:

  • the first day of the week in which the certificate is issued, or
  • the first day of the week in which the employee is absent, if the leave began before the certificate was issued and the certificate was valid from any day in that week.

The compassionate care leave period will end with the last day of the week in which either the family member dies, or with the expiration of the 52 week period.

A compassionate care leave shall be taken in periods of at least one week in duration.

Where two or more employees take compassionate care leave under this policy in respect of the care or support of the same family member the aggregate amount of unpaid leave shall not exceed 28 weeks.


Employee Protection and Benefits

The employer shall not terminate or give notice of termination because an employee intends to take, applies for or takes compassionate care leave under this policy.

Employees may take up to 20 days of unpaid leave in any fiscal year and maintain their full entitlement of annual leave, sick leave or paid leave credits.

Employees who use 21 or more days of unpaid leave in any fiscal year will have their annual leave, sick leave and/or paid leave entitlements reduced proportional to the total number of unpaid leave days taken in excess of 20 days.

Employees cannot accrue or use sick leave, annual leave, paid leave or any accumulated leave when on periods of unpaid leave in excess of 20 days.

The unpaid leave period will not be considered a break in service.

Employees may purchase their unpaid leave periods for pension credits when they return to work.  Upon return to work, employees may have the unpaid leave period credited for pension purposes.  Employees who elect in writing, within 90 days, may purchase the period of unpaid leave by paying contributions that would have been paid had the employee not gone on unpaid leave. The employer will match this amount.  Employees who elect to purchase pension credits after 90 days will be required to pay the full actuarial cost of the service.

Upon return from unpaid leave, employees will not lose any benefits that had accrued at the commencement of the period of unpaid leave.

Employees on unpaid leave for periods of 5 days or less will receive payment for any holiday that occurs during that period of unpaid leave.

 

Last Policy Update: December 8, 2016

 
Last Updated:
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