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03/04 - Compassionate Care Leave
*** The Investment Guild Letter ***

     Federal Legislation on Compassionate Leave Under E.I.

As outlined in the 2003 federal budget, Bill C-28 amends the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code to provide for compassionate leave. The legislation is proposed to come into effect January 4, 2004.
A new section on Compassionate Care Leave for the Canada Labour Code says that “every employee is entitled to and shall be granted a leave of absence from employment of up to eight weeks to provide care or support to a family member of the employee if a 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 members include:
                         A child, or the child of a spouse or common-law partner;
                         A wife or husband, or common-law partner;
                         A father or mother;
                         A father’s wife or a mother’s husband, if the father or mother has remarried;
                         The common-law partner of a father or mother, if there has been no remarriage.
                         E.I. will provide benefits for compassionate leave to qualified individuals for up to six weeks,
                           following a two-week waiting period.
The total amount of leave taken by two or more employees caring for the same family member cannot exceed eight weeks (with only one waiting period required).
There will be a new reason for separation for compassionate leave with the next print of paper Records of Employment (ROEs) and Web-based ROEs called Code “Z”. On existing ROEs submitted for compassionate care leave, use Code “K” (other) with “compassionate care leave” in the comments section of Box 18.
There are new “Frequently Asked Questions” for employees and employers on E.I. compassionate care benefits in the Government of Canada Website under Employment Insurance in the A - Z Index.

Care of Seniors
Many employees are responsible for overseeing the care of older relatives. It can be difficult to know when a senior needs a change in the level of support in daily living or medical care to address early signs of dementia. Doctors tend to focus on physical symptoms and may not pick up on signs of mental decline. The Website lists the top 10 indicators that signal a senior may need more assistance. The site includes a needs assessment questionnaire, care-giving information and links to government resources.
This may be welcome information to share with your employees, as many people don’t know when and where to turn.

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