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What if I need more than 10 days off work because a family member is sick or for some other crisis?

If you need 10 days or less, you might be able to take personal emergency leave.

If you need to be away more than 10 days and you're covered by Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) you might be able to take:

Getting paid

The ESA does not say that your employer has to pay you when you take one of these leaves.

You might have the right to get paid if:

You might also be able to get money from programs that help people on one of these leaves. For example, you might be able to get special benefits from Employment Insurance.

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Find out if you're covered by the Employment Standards Act

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has rules about minimum standards that employers must follow. These include rules about leaves of absence that are in the ESA.

But not all jobs are covered by the ESA. And, for some jobs, only parts of the ESA apply.

Use the Ministry of Labour's online tool called Industries and Jobs with Exemptions or Special Rules to find out:

  • if your job is covered by the ESA
  • which ESA rules apply to you

You can also call the Ministry's Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551, 416-326-7160, or 1-866-567-8893 (TTY).

You may need

Find out about family caregiver leave

People take family caregiver leave to care for or support a family member who has a serious medical condition.

You may be able to take up to 8 weeks of family caregiver leave in a calendar year. This means between January 1 and December 31.

Who is a family member

Family caregiver leave applies to the following family members:

  • your spouse, including a common-law or same-sex partner
  • your child or your spouse's child, including a stepchild or foster child
  • the spouse of your child, including a stepchild or foster child
  • your brother or sister
  • your parent or your spouse's parent, including a step-parent or foster parent
  • your grandparent or your spouse's grandparent, including a step-grandparent
  • your grandchild or your spouse's grandchild, including a step-grandchild
  • a relative who depends on you for care or assistance

What you need to show your employer

You need a medical certificate from a doctor, nurse, or psychologist that says that your family member has a serious medical condition.

The certificate does not have to say what the medical condition is.

You may need

Find out about family medical leave

People take family medical leave to care for or support someone who is dying.

You may be able to take up to 8 weeks of family medical leave over a period of 26 weeks. You may be able to take up to 8 more weeks if the person does not die within those first 26 weeks.

Who is a family member

Family caregiver leave applies to the following family members:

  • your spouse, including a common-law or same-sex partner
  • your child or spouse's child, including a stepchild or foster child
  • the spouse of your child or your spouse's child, including a stepchild or foster child
  • your brother or sister or your spouse's brother or sister, including a stepbrother or stepsister
  • the spouse of your brother or sister or your spouse’s brother or sister, including a stepbrother or stepsister
  • your parent or your spouse's parent, including a step-parent or foster parent
  • your grandparent or your spouse's grandparent, including a step-grandparent
  • your grandchild or spouse's grandchild, including a step-grandchild
  • your uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece
  • your spouse's uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece
  • the spouse of your grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece
  • someone who thinks of you like a family member

What you need to show your employer
You need a medical certificate from a doctor that says that the family member or close friend is:

  • seriously ill, and
  • at a significant risk of dying within 26 weeks.

Employment Insurance benefits

You might be able to get Employment Insurance (EI) compassionate care benefits for up to 26 weeks.

You may need

Find out about critically ill child care leave

People take critically ill child care leave so they can care for or support their child who is under 18 years of age and critically ill. This includes your stepchild, your foster child, and a child you're the legal guardian for.

You may be able to take up to 37 weeks of critically ill child care leave over a period of 52 weeks.

To get critically ill child care leave, you must have worked for your employer for at least 6 months in a row.

What you need to show your employer

You need a medical certificate from a doctor, nurse, or psychologist that says that the child is:

  • critically ill, and
  • needs care and support from a parent for a specific period of time.

Employment Insurance benefits

You might be able to get Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for parents of critically ill children for up to 35 weeks.

You may need

Find out about other leaves

There are some other leaves that people can get if they're covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

Organ donor leave

You might be able to get organ donor leave if:

  • you're having surgery so you can donate an organ
  • you've worked for your employer for at least 13 weeks

You can take up to 13 weeks of organ donor leave. And you may be able to get up to 13 more weeks if you have a medical certificate that says how much more time off you need before you can go back to work.

You might be able to get Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits for up to 15 weeks. You might also be able to get money from the Program for Reimbursing Expenses of Living Organ Donors (PRELOD).

Reservist leave

Reservist leave is for members of the Canadian army reserve forces when they're away helping with an emergency.

For example, this could be a search and rescue operation or dealing with an event like a flood or ice storm.

The leave can be for as long as the army is helping out with the emergency.

To get reservist leave, you must have worked for your employer for at least 6 months in a row.

You must tell your employer in writing when the leave will begin and end.

Crime-related child death or disappearance leave

People take crime-related child death or disappearance leave if their child, who is under 18 years of age:

  • has disappeared or died, and
  • it's likely that the death or disappearance is because of a crime.

This includes your stepchild, your foster child, and a child you're the legal guardian for.

The leave can be up to:

  • 52 weeks if a child disappears
  • 104 weeks if a child dies

To get this leave, you must have worked for your employer at least 6 months in a row.

Your employer can ask you for proof that you have a right to take the leave. For example, you might need to show your employer proof that there is a police report about your missing child.

You might be able to get Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children for up to 35 weeks.

You may need
Reviewed: 
January, 2016

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