Area of Law: Employment Law
Answer # 1605
Family Medical LeaveRegion: Ontario Answer # 1605
What is Family Medical Leave?
Family medical leave can be taken by employees to provide care or support to family members and to people who are considered to be like a family member, who are seriously ill and at risk of dying. To qualify for this leave, the employee must provide the employer with a certificate from a qualified health practitioner indicating the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks.
Under the Employment Standards Act, up-to 28 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 52-week period may be taken. Leave is available to all employees who are covered by the Act, including full-time, part-time, permanent, or term contract.
What is considered care or support?
Under the Act, care or support includes:
- providing psychological or emotional support,
- arranging for care by a third-party provider, or
- directly providing or participating in the care of the family member.
Who is considered a family member?
Family medical leave may be taken to care for the following family members:
- the employee’s spouse (including same-sex spouse)
- a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse
- a child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse
- a brother, step-brother, sister, or step-sister of the employee
- a grandparent or step-grandparent of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
- a grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
- a brother-in-law, step-brother-in-law, sister-in-law or step-sister-in-law of the employee
- a son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
- an uncle or aunt of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
- a nephew or niece of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
- the spouse of the employee’s grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.
Persons considered to be like family members
If the employer requests, employees who want to take family medical leave to care for people who are not family members (as defined by the Act), but are considered to be like family members must provide a completed copy of the Family Member Attestation form.
If the specified family member does not live in Ontario, the employee is still eligible for the leave.
EI Compassionate Care Benefits
Under the Federal Employment Insurance Act, eligible employees may also be entitled to 26 weeks of employment insurance compassionate care benefits if they have to be away from work to provide care or support to family members and to people who are considered to be like a family member, who are seriously ill and at risk of dying within 26 weeks. For more information, view Caregiver benefits.
For more information on family medical leave, review the Government of Ontario’s Guide to the Employment Standards Act.
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