Thursday, June 9, 2016

An Update on Compassionate and Bereavement Leaves

Sally Gunz, FAUW President

A few weeks ago you received a statement on leave entitlements from the provost and myself. No sooner than it had gone out than I received an email reminding me we had forgotten to discuss compassionate and bereavement leaves. This is entirely correct.

FYI, bereavement leaves are short and are covered by university guidelines.

Compassionate leave is trickier. Ontario's Employment Standards Act ensures job protection for up to eight weeks of Family Caregiver Leave, eight weeks of Family Medical Leave (in circumstances of imminent death of a family member), and up to 37 weeks of Critically Ill Child Care Leave. As of now they are unpaid, although there may be eligibility for employment insurance benefits. Information is available on the Human Resources Website (see the section on Employment Standards Act (ESA) Leaves).

FAUW raised the issue of lack of a clear policy or guideline for compassionate leaves, and the terms of reference for the new committee reviewing Policy 14, Pregnancy and Parental Leave (Including Adoption) have been extended to allow for the consideration of inclusion of this (and possibly other) leaves. While these may seem unrelated life events, in fact the principles behind the leaves are very similar. Certainly the entitlements should be clarified by policy.

I thank those who brought these issues to my attention.

Note: Additional updates on ongoing issues are provided in today's President's Newsletter, available on the FAUW website.

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