Leave Provision Changes
February 27, 2018
The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, Bill 148 was passed on November 22, 2017 and amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). Leave provision changes for parental leave and critical illness leave were effective on December 3, 2017. All other leave changes were effective as of January 1, 2018.
Pregnancy and Parental Leaves
Amendments to the ESA have expanded the length of pregnancy and parental leaves. For the purposes of benefits, this means that ETFO Employee Life and Health Trust (ELHT) benefits funding has expanded to a longer period of time, to a maximum period of 18 months. The ETFO ELHT will fund health, dental, and basic life (1x salary) benefits premiums for eligible ETFO members who elect to continue benefits during this period. This benefit premium coverage will be pro-rated for part-time members, where applicable.
Other statutory leaves under the ESA
Eligible ETFO members on all statutory leaves are entitled to ETFO ELHT payment of benefits premiums as described above (pro-rated for part-time members) during the entirety of statutory leaves, so long as they do not elect out of the plan.
Please note that several other leaves of absence have been created or expanded under the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, including:
- Family Medical Leave – section 49.1 of the ESA, providing for Family Medical Leave, is extended from eight to 28 weeks. Further, subsection 49.1(3) is added, allowing an employee to take a leave to care for the following family members:
- The employee’s spouse.
- A parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A child who is under legal guardianship of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A brother, step-brother, sister or step-sister of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A brother-in-law, step-brother-in-law, sister-in-law or step-sister-in-law of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- An uncle or aunt of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A nephew or niece of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
- A person who considers the employee to be like a family member, provided the prescribed conditions, if any, are met.
- Any individual prescribed as a family member for the purposes of this section.
- Critical Illness Leave – previously known as “critically ill child care leave”, this allows an employee to take a leave to care for the family members listed above under Family Medical Leave. If the leave is taken in relation to a minor child, the leave entitlement is up to 37 weeks in a 52 week period, and if the leave is taken in relation to an adult family member, the leave entitlement is up to 17 weeks in a 52 week period (s. 49.4).
- Child Death Leave – the new section 49.5 entitles an employee to a leave of up to 104 weeks if their child dies; this applies to the employee’s child, stepchild, foster, child and children for whom the employee has legal guardianship.
- Crime-Related Child Disappearance Leave – the new section 49.6 entitles an employee to a leave of up to 104 weeks if the child disappears and it is probable that the child disappeared as a result of crime; this applies to the employee’s child, stepchild, foster, child and children for whom the employee has legal guardianship.
- Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave – the new section 49.7 allows an employee employed by an employer for at least 13 consecutive weeks to take up to 10 days and up to 15 weeks leave per calendar year, the first five days of which are paid, if the employee or child of the employee experiences domestic or sexual violence, or the threat thereof, and the leave is taken for one of the enumerated purposes, which include seeking medical attention relating to the violence, obtaining services from a victim services organization, obtaining psychological or other professional counselling, temporarily or permanently relocating, or seeking legal or law enforcement assistance. Employees are able to access day leaves and week leaves. Partial access may be deemed a full week.
If you have any general questions about eligibility for health, dental, and life coverage while on a statutory leave, please contact the ETFO ELHT at ETFO-ELHT@etfo.org or 1 416 962 3836 ext. 3830 (toll-free 1 888 838 3836 ext. 3830).
For questions about your specific benefits coverage or health and dental claims, please call OTIP Benefits Services at 1‑866‑783‑6847.