Alberta Passes the Compassionate Care Leave Bill (Private Members’ Bill 203)

On May 27, 2013 Private Members’ Bill 203, the Employment Standards (Compassionate Care Leave) Amendment Act, 2012, SA 2013, c. 6, received Royal Assent. The Bill contains amendments that allow an employee to take time off to care for terminally ill family members. Bill 203 received it’s first reading on November 1, 2012, second reading on April 22, 2013, third reading on May 13, and Royal Assent on May 27. It will come into force on proclamation.

The Compassionate Care Leave is not new to Canada so employers who have team members in Ontario will be familiar with their obligations.

What does this change mean for employers in Alberta?

The employer is not allowed to terminate or lay off a team member who is eligible and takes compassionate care leave. When the leave expires the employer must reinstate the employee to the same or comparable position with no loss in wages or benefits.

The amendments mean that the employee may take an unpaid leave of absence of up to eight weeks if he or she is the primary caregiver of a seriously ill family member. The employee must provide a physician’s certificate stating that the family member has a serious medical condition, with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks, and that the family member requires care or support.

For the purposes of the leave, “family member” includes:

• the employee’s spouse or common-law partner;
• the employee’s child or the child of the employee’s spouse or common-law partner;
• the employee’s parent or the spouse or common-law partner of the employee’s parent; and
• any other person designated by regulation

The other qualifying factor is that the employee must have 52 consecutive weeks of work with your organization and must provide two (2) weeks’ notice unless circumstances do not allow for that.

As a client of PEO Canada we will support you and your organization with this change to policies and procedures and ensure that you have the information to support your team members through a difficult time.

Elizabeth Callaway / HR Specialist / PEO Canada

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