On October 29, 2014, the following three new job-protected leaves of absence will come into effect under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA):

  1. family caregiver leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition.
  2. critically ill child care leave: up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care to a critically ill child.
  3. crime-related child death or disappearance leave: up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a child who has died due to a crime.

As discussed in more detail in a previous post, these new leaves of absence will be in addition to the existing leaves of absence available to Ontario employees under the ESA and may be used in conjunction with those existing leaves.

With less than two weeks to go before the effective date, Ontario employers should take steps to reflect these new statutory leaves of absence in their workplace policies, handbooks, employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements.