Legislative Update: Leaves to Help Families

In the Spring 2013 issue of EMPlawyers Update, we informed readers about Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013, which amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to create the following leaves:

  • Family caregiver leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition.
  • Critically ill child care leave: up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care to a critically ill child.


  • Crime-related child death or disappearance: up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks for parents of a child who has died as a result of a crime.

After amendments were made to the definitions of “qualified health practitioner”, “serious medical condition” and “child”, and after the removal of the requirement that leave be taken in entire weeks, Bill 21 received Royal Assent on April 29th, 2014 and will come into force on October 29th, 2014.


In anticipation of the coming into force of the Act, employers should review their leave policies and procedures and make revisions accordingly.