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Your rights at work

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What if I need more than a few days off because of a family member's illness or other crisis?

You might be able to take time off work if you qualify for:

  • family caregiver leave
  • family medical leave
  • critical illness leave
  • domestic or sexual violence leave
  • child death leave
  • crime-related child disappearance leave
  • organ donor leave
  • reservist leave

If you are covered by the ESA, you might be entitled to one of these leaves. See Does the ESA apply to all workers? for more information about whether the ESA applies to you.

The table below gives basic information about each of these leaves.

Type of leave Maximum leave To qualify
Family caregiver leave:
To provide care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition
8 weeks in a calendar year You must get a medical certificate from a doctor, nurse, or psychologist saying that the person has a serious medical condition.
Family medical leave:
To provide care or support to someone who is dying and is:
  • a family member or
  • someone with whom you have as close a relationship as a family member
28 weeks in a 52-week period You must get a medical certificate from a doctor or a nurse practitioner saying that the family member or close friend is seriously ill and at significant risk of dying within 26 weeks.
Critical illness leave:
To provide care or support to a critically ill family member or child under 18, including a step-child, foster child or if you are the child's legal guardian
  • 37 weeks in a 52-week period for a child under 18
  • 17 weeks in a 52-week period for an adult family member

You must have worked for your current employer for at least 6 months in a row.

You must get a medical certificate from a doctor, nurse, or psychologist saying that the person is critically ill and needs the care or support of a family member for a specific period of time.

Domestic or sexual violence leave:
For specific reasons related to the violence, for example, to get medical care, professional counselling, or help from a victim services organization, to move, or to deal with the legal system
Up to 10 days and up to 15 weeks in a calendar year

You must have worked for your current employer for at least13 weeks in a row.

Your employer can ask you for proof that is "reasonable in the circumstances" to show that you need the leave.

Child death leave or crimerelated child disappearance leave:
If your child, step-child or foster child under 18 years of age has died or disappeared
Up to 104 weeks

You must have worked for your current employer for at least 6 months in a row.

Your employer can ask you for "reasonable evidence" of your right to take the leave — for example, a police report about the missing child.

Organ donor leave:
To have organ donor surgery
Up to 13 weeks (with possible extension of up to 13 more weeks) You must have worked for your current employer for at least 13 weeks.
Reservist leave:
For members of the Canadian army reserve forces sent to help because of an emergency situation
As long as the army is helping out with the emergency

You must have worked for your current employer for at least 6 months in a row.

You must give your employer written notice of when the leave will begin and end.