The Federal Government has issued draft legislation intended to promote home care for dependants (the ‘Home Care Act’). The Act is intended to allow employees who have dependants in need of home care to combine their employment and home care provision. If an unexpected circumstance of a family member needing care occurs, employees will be entitled to obtain authorised leave from work for a short period of time in order to provide the immediate care required.

Under the proposed legislation, employed family members of individuals in need of care will also have the right to be released from all or part of their work duties for up to 6 months in order to provide home care over an extended period of time. This entitlement applies per individual relative in need of care and not per employee.

The draft Act does not provide any obligation for the employer to grant paid time off. In the case of a short period of absence of this type, however, that obligation may be imposed by other Regulations. Employees who exercise the right to take time off to care for dependants will be protected against dismissal.