What is Family Medical Leave?
Family Medical Leave is unpaid, job-protected leave of up to eight (8) weeks in a 26-week period. It may be taken to provide care and support to a specified family member (listed in the policy) for whom a qualified health practitioner has issued a certificate indicating that the family member has a serious medical condition and there is a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks.
What do I have to do to request a Family Medical Leave?
Submit a written request to your manager or supervisor, stating your wish to take a Family Medical Leave.
- the duration of the requested leave
- the scheduling you are requesting e.g. eight weeks together; four weeks taken in weekly segments
- whether or not you are the only family member taking the leave and if you are sharing it how many weeks you are taking i.e. less than eight weeks
- when you wish to start your leave and the date when you expect to return to work.
What other documentation do I need to give my supervisor?
If you receive Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care benefits you do not need further documentation for your supervisor but will be required to submit the EI stubs to Payroll as soon as you receive them and continue to provide the pay stubs as they are received.
If you are not entitled to the EI benefits because you do not have sufficient insurable hours, you must provide a certificate to your supervisor from a qualified health practitioner stating that you have a family member with a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks or shorter.
Does this leave apply to me if I am a part-time, or temporary employee?
All employees, whether full-time or part-time, permanent, temporary or contract, are entitled to Family Medical Leave.
How much leave am I entitled to if I share it with other members of my family?
The eight (8) weeks of a Family Medical Leave must be shared by all employed family members who take a Family Medical Leave to provide care and support to a specific family member. For example, if one spouse takes six (6) weeks of Family Medical Leave to care for his or her child, the other spouse can take only two weeks of Family Medical Leave.
How will my benefits be affected if I take this leave?
The City continues your basic benefits coverage (health, dental, group life insurance, STD and LTD) for the duration of the leave for a maximum of eight weeks. Coverage of benefits for part-time employees continues on a pro-rated basis. If you normally pay premiums for benefits that are not covered by the basic plan, for example additional coverage for group life insurance you are still responsible for paying those premiums during the leave.
If you want to maintain pension service credits you must pay your pension contributions for the duration of the leave. The City will match these contributions.
How will my sick time, vacation, service and seniority be affected if I take this leave?
You earn vacation credits during the leave. If you accumulate sick leave credits, you continue to earn these credits during the period of leave. You accumulate full service and seniority during the leave, however Family Medical Leave days are not counted towards the completion of the probationary period.
How does this leave impact on Ill Dependent Leave?
If you are entitled to Ill Dependent Leave you may wish to access that leave before family medical leave, as ill dependent leave is paid leave. You do not have to use ill dependent leave before applying for Family Medical Leave. You may wish to use it for other instances or family members.
Am I paid for statutory holidays if they occur when I am on leave?
Statutory holidays are treated in the same way as in other unpaid leaves. If a statutory holiday occurs during your leave you are not paid for that holiday.
What do I do if I want an extension of Family Medical Leave i.e. more than eight weeks?
You submit a request to your supervisor stating how much time you are requesting. Note that a request for leave beyond eight weeks is at divisional discretion. If the extended leave is granted you must take that time as vacation, Voluntary Leave, Leave without Pay or personal leave provisions if they are in your collective agreement. The benefits you receive during an extended leave depend on the conditions specified by the type of leave you take e.g. if you take Voluntary Leave, benefits are included; if Leave without Pay, benefits are not included.
Can I apply for a subsequent Family Medical Leave if I have already taken such a leave at an earlier time?
If you have taken a Family Medical Leave and your family member did not die within the designated 26 weeks, you may take another leave at a later time if you are facing a similar situation or if another family member is at risk of dying. Every time you take a new Family Medical Leave, you need a new medical certificate.
I know that the leave is unpaid but am I eligible for Employment Insurance benefits?
Under the Employment Insurance Act, EI benefits called “Compassionate Care benefits” may be paid to EI eligible employees who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care to a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks and who requires care and support from one or more family members.
Eligibility for EI benefits, including Compassionate Care benefits is decided by Skills Development Canada, a department of the federal government.
The EI benefit for Compassionate Care is available to all employees who:
- have worked at least 600 hours in the last 52 weeks, and;
- whose regular weekly earnings decrease by more than 40% as a result of the leave, and;
- take a leave on or after Jan. 4, 2004, to care for a gravely ill family member with significant risk of death within the next 6 months.
In June 2006 the definition of family member was expanded. For a full list of eligible family members refer to the Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care Benefits website (see link below)
You are required to provide a medical certificate to Employment Insurance in order to receive the benefit.
What should I do if I haven't enough insurable hours to qualify for Employment Insurance Compassionate Care benefits?
First check with Employment Insurance to determine what you may be entitled to. If you cannot access Compassionate Care benefits you are still entitled to take eight weeks Family Medical Leave.
As this leave is unpaid do I have the option of receiving no pay during the leave or pro-rating payments over a number of pay periods within the calendar year?
There is only one option for this leave and that is to receive no pay during periods that you are away from work on Family Medical Leave.