Compassionate Care Leave – 808-1-IPG-063

Disclaimer: This page has been prepared for reference only.

Effective Date: January 15, 2018

1. Subject

This IPG is intended to clarify and provide guidance on the application of section 206.3 of Part III of the Canada Labour Code (Code) dealing with Compassionate Care Leave.

2. Issue

There is a need to describe how Compassionate Care Leave is related to:

  1. Leave Related to Critical Illness; and
  2. Bereavement Leave.

3. Guiding principles

a. Compassionate Care Leave and Leave Related to Critical Illness

The length of leave is calculated using weeks. A "week" is defined as the period between midnight on Saturday and midnight on the immediately following Saturday.

In a 52-week period and in relation to each family member for whom care and support is provided, an employee may take or more than one employee may share a maximum unpaid leave as follows:

  1. Compassionate Care Leave: 28 weeks.
  2. Leave related to Critical Illness of a child: 37 weeks.
  3. Leave related to Critical Illness of an adult: 17 weeks.

Where more than one employee is taking the same leave in relation to the same family member, each employee can take leave at any time during the 52-week period, either at the same time or at different times. Their combined periods of leave may not exceed the maximum periods provided under the Code (see paragraph above). For example, if two employees are taking Compassionate Care Leave, their combined periods of leave may not exceed a total of 28 weeks in the 52-week period.

Where more than one employee wants to take a leave in relation to the same family member, they cannot take Compassionate Care Leave at the same time as a Leave related to critical illness of a child or an adult.

b. Compassionate Care Leave and Bereavement Leave

An employee is eligible to take Bereavement Leave on any normal working day that falls within the three-day period immediately following the day the immediate family member dies.
An employee may be entitled to Bereavement Leave with pay if they have completed three consecutive months of continuous employment with their employer.

In the case of Compassionate Care Leave and Bereavement Leave, an employee cannot take these leaves at the same time.

4. Description of the leaves

Division VII of the Code provides employees under federal jurisdiction with leaves which the purposes, length, eligibility criteria and individuals with respect to whom they can be taken vary.

An employee may be entitled to more than one leave for the same event. Each leave is separate and the right to each leave is independent of any right an employee may have to the other leave(s).

The following table describes Compassionate Care Leave, Leave related to critical illness and Bereavement leave.

- Compassionate Care Leave Leave Related to Critical Illness Bereavement Leave
Child Adult
Eligibility period No Yes

Requirement to complete six consecutive months of continuous employment.
No
Paid leave No No No Yes

Requirement to complete three consecutive months of continuous employment.
Individual with respect to whom the leave can be taken must be a family member Yes Yes Yes Yes

Leave must be taken for an immediate family member who dies.
Length of leave within a 52-week period 28 weeks 37 weeks 17 weeks Not applicable
Leave can be taken in one consecutive period Yes Yes Yes Yes

Leave cannot be divided.
Leave can be divided in many periods of not less than one week's duration Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Leave can be shared between one or more employees in respect of the same family member Yes Yes Yes No
Certificate issued by the medical doctor or nurse practitioner is required Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Medical certificate is valid for the 52-week period Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Written notice to the employer must contain reason(s) and length of leave Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Four weeks' notice must be provided to the employer if the leave is more than four weeks Yes Yes Yes Not applicable

5. Questions

  1. How does Compassionate Care Leave work if the employee is taking Leave Related to Critical Illness?
  2. How does Compassionate Care Leave work if the immediate family member dies during the leave period?

6. Responses

a. How does Compassionate Care Leave work if the employee is taking Leave Related to Critical Illness?

Paragraphs 206.3(7), 206.4(5) and 207.01 of the Code provides that, in a 52-week period, Compassionate Care Leave and Leave Related to Critical Illness can be:

  • shared between one or more employees (for the maximum combined leave periods, see Section 3 – Guiding Principles);
  • divided in many periods of not less than one week's duration; and
  • taken in one consecutive period.

Employees are neither required to, nor prevented from, taking their leave at the same time. However, subsection 206.3(7.1) of the Code provides two circumstances in which these leaves cannot be taken at the same time.

Firstly, an employee alone cannot take Compassionate Care Leave and Leave Related to Critical Illness at the same time in respect of the same family member. If the employee is eligible to take Compassionate Care Leave, the employee must wait for the Leave Related to Critical Illness to end first.

Secondly, more than one employee can share a Leave Related to Critical Illness in respect of the same family member. If these employees are eligible to take Compassionate Care Leave for the family member, they must wait until the Leave Related to Critical Illness of all employees ends before starting the other leave.

Appendix A, Section I provides a scenario.

b. How does Compassionate Care Leave work if the immediate family member dies during the leave period?

The Code provides that an employee is eligible to take Bereavement Leave on any scheduled working day that fall within the three-day period immediately following the day the immediate family member dies.

However, Bereavement Leave and Compassionate Care Leave cannot be taken at the same time as an employee cannot be absent from employment for the purposes of two different leaves at the same time in respect of the same family member. In the event that the immediate family member dies during the Compassionate Care Leave period, the employee must wait until the leave ends before taking Bereavement Leave.

In such a case, in order to calculate the number of days of Bereavement Leave to which an employee is entitled, the following must be considered:

  • Compassionate Care Leave ends the last day of the week in which the immediate family member dies (in other words midnight Saturday after death); and
  • the employee's scheduled working days.

Appendix A, Section II provides scenarios.

Appendix A

The following scenarios provide guidance on the application of Compassionate Care Leave, Leave Related to Critical Illness and Bereavement Leave. While each application should be assessed on a case by case basis, length of service and statutory requirements are deemed to be in compliance with the Code.

Legend:

  • BL – Bereavement Leave
  • CC – Compassionate Care Leave
  • CI – Leave Related to Critical Illness
  • Med. Cert. – Medical Certificate
  • R – Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
  • Sch – Schedule
  • W – Day of regularly scheduled work

Section I: Compassionate Care Leave and Leave Related to Critical Illness

Scenario 1

Week 1: Parent 1 and Parent 2 have a five-year-old child who is suffering from a critical illness. On Monday, the medical doctor issues a medical certificate stating that the child is critically ill and requires care and support.

Both parents are eligible to take Leave Related to Critical Illness. Although both parents can take this leave separately, they decide to take their leave at the same time by dividing the 37 weeks. Parent 1 takes 18 weeks and Parent 2 takes 19 weeks.

Week 19: This is Parent 2 last week of Leave Related to Critical Illness. The child's condition has deteriorated. On Tuesday, the nurse practitioner issues a medical certificate stating that the child is seriously ill and there is a risk of death within 26 weeks. Parent 1 wants to take Compassionate Care Leave. For this purpose, Parent 1 must wait until Sunday at midnight when Parent's 2 Leave Related to Critical Illness ends to be entitled to take Compassionate Care Leave since both leaves cannot be taken at the same time for the same child.

Week 20: Parent 1 takes Compassionate Care Leave.

Week 46: Parent 1 has been on Compassionate Care Leave for 26 consecutive weeks and the child remains seriously ill. Parent 1 wants to take the remaining two weeks of Compassionate Care Leave. Since the medical certificate is valid for the entire 52-week period, Parent 1 can take the remaining two weeks without additional proof of eligibility.

However, Parent 1 does need to comply with the notification requirements (see table in Section 4 – Description of the leaves).

Section I: Scenario 1
- Week 1 Weeks 2 to 17 Week 18
Day S M T W T F S - S M T W T F S
Sch R W W W W W R - R W W W W W R
Event - Med.Cert. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Parent 1 CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI
Parent 2 CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI CI
- Week 19 Week 20
Day S M T W T F S S M T W T F S
Sch R W W W W W R R W W W W W R
Event - - Med.Cert. - - - - - - - - - - -
Parent 1 - - - - - - - CC CC CC CC CC CC CC
Parent 2 CI CI CI CI CI CI CI - - - - - - -
- Weeks 21 to 45 Week 46 Week 47 Week 48
Day - S M T W T F S - S M T W T F S
Sch - R W W W W W R - R W W W W W R
Event - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Parent 1 CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC CC
Parent 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Section II: Compassionate Care Leave and Bereavement Leave

For scenarios 1 and 2:  The employee is on Compassionate Care Leave, and normally works from Monday to Friday.

Scenario 1:  The affected family member dies on Monday. Since the Compassionate Care Leave is in effect until the following Saturday at midnight, the employee remains on Compassionate Care Leave and is not entitled to Bereavement Leave.

Section II: Scenario 1

- Week 1 Week 2
Day S M T W T F S S M T W T F S
Sch R W W W W W R R W W W W W R
Death - Death - - - - - - - - - - - -
Leave CC CC CC CC CC CC CC - None None None None None -

Scenario 2:  The affected family member dies on Saturday morning. Since the Compassionate Care Leave is in effect until Saturday at midnight and the employee's first regularly scheduled day of work is Monday, the employee will be entitled to take Bereavement Leave for Monday and Tuesday.

Section II: Scenario 2

- Week 1 Week 2
Day S M T W T F S S M T W T F S
Sch R W W W W W R R W W W W W R
Death - - - - - - Death - - - - - - -
Leave CC CC CC CC CC CC CC R BL BL None None None -

Scenario 3:  The employee is on Compassionate Care Leave, and normally works a schedule that requires eight (8) days of work and four (4) days off work. The normal schedule for the week in question requires the employee to be at work on Saturday through the following Saturday (inclusive). The affected family member dies on the Friday before the start of the employee's work period. The Compassionate Care Leave expires Saturday at midnight. In this scenario, the employee will continue with Compassionate Care Leave on Saturday and Bereavement Leave on Sunday and Monday.

Section II: Scenario 3

- Week 1 Week 2
Day S M T W T F S S M T W T F S
Sch W W R R R R W W W W W W W W
Death - - - - - Death - - - - - - -
Leave CC CC CC CC CC CC CC BL BL None None None None None

Scenario 4:  The employee is on Compassionate Care Leave, and normally works a schedule that requires six (6) days of work and three (3) days off work. The normal schedule for the week in question requires the employee to be at work on Saturday until the next Thursday. The employee would then normally be off work Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to be back at work the following Monday. The affected family member dies on the Friday the employee would be scheduled to be off work. The Compassionate Care Leave expires Saturday at midnight. In this scenario, the employee is on Compassionate Care Leave on Saturday, on rest on Sunday, and on Bereavement Leave on Monday.

Section II: Scenario 4

- Week 1 Week 2
Day S M T W T F S S M T W T F S
Sch W W W W W R R R W W W W W W
Death - - - - - Death - - - -
Leave CC CC CC CC CC CC CC R BL None None None None None
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