Monday, November 28, 2011

Caregiver Leave

Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits are available to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death.

With a palliative diagnosis, a family member in Canada can qualify for a Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB), as long as the doctor is willing to make this diagnosis. Also, there are financial reasons in terms of an estate, to claim disability on a tax return. Unfortunately, doctors are not always willing to predict death within 26 weeks, a requirement of the CCB. This is a gross error on the part of government. This is the financial impact to the (mostly) women who care for palliative family members.

This leave has been in place for several years. Unfortunately, the barrier for me was not knowing how ill my mother was with cancer. No doctor could have predicted her death within 26 weeks. In fact, she died 6 weeks after I moved to be nearer to her. My late father's brain tumour was the same. Not knowing when end-of-life would occur, we bravely faced his increasing dementia week after week, as I continued to work as a teacher. He lasted 9 months when the tumour returned.

With Ontario's Family Medical Leave, you're eligible for up to eight weeks job-protected leave from work in the event of a loved one becoming gravely ill. You can stop work and care for them, knowing your job will be there when you get back.

An employee can take Family Medical Leave up to eight weeks to provide care or support to certain family members and people who consider care recipients to be like a family member, qualify for this leave if a qualified medical practitioner has issued a certificate indicating that the care recipient has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks.

Ontario's Family Medical Leave is available to you whether you apply for federal Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits or not. If you are applying for Employment Insurance (EI) compassionate care benefits, a copy of the medical certificate submitted to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada may also be used for the purpose of family medical leave.

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.

Six weeks of Employment Insurance benefits called Compassionate Care Benefits may be paid to EI eligible employees taking Ontario's Family Medical Leave.

For information about EI Compassionate Care Benefits, please call your nearest Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) office or call toll-free to 1-800-206-7218.
Find out more about Ontario's Family Medical Leave.

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