Amendments to the definition of “caregiver” in the Employment Standards Act have made more BC employees eligible for leave to care for terminally ill family members.
The new definition allows employees to take compassionate care leave to care for in-laws, same-sex partners, step-siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews as well as immediate family members. The amendments also create the potential for claims based on non-familial ties: a backgrounder issued by the BC government says that eligible relationships will also include “any individual with a serious medical condition who considers the employee to be, or whom the employee considers to be, like a close relative”.
Compassionate care leave was introduced earlier this year. If an employee provides a medical certificate stating that a family member is at risk of death within 26 weeks, he may be entitled to up to eight weeks of unpaid leave to provide care . The employee may take a second eight week leave if the family member does not die in the first 26 week period.