Caregiving Leave Policy

Royal Roads University Policy

Policy Number: 
AD07
First implemented: 
April 3, 2020
Approved By: 
VP & CFO
Office of Oversight: 
Human Resources
Note: this policy replaces the Compassionate Care Leave Policy

Policy Statement: 

Aligned to our core value of Caring, and our commitment to being “a workplace of choice supporting professional and personal success”, Royal Roads University supports employees in taking time away from our workplace to provide care or support to a family member who is critically ill or injured or in need of end-of-life care.

Leave Entitlements:

All university employees are entitled to take unpaid caregiving leave in circumstances where a family member is critically ill or injured and their life is at risk or where a family member is terminally ill.  For the purposes of this policy a family member is as defined by the BC Employment Standards Act Family Member Regulation.

Employees requiring leave for any of these purposes should advise their manager as soon as they become aware of it and are encouraged to review the relevant federal and provincial informational resources and consult with their HR Consultant.

Critical illness or injury leave

An employee taking time off to care for a family member whose life is at risk due to illness or injury is entitled to take up to thirty-six weeks (36) weeks of unpaid leave for a child or up to sixteen (16) weeks of unpaid leave for an adult family member over the age of 19.

Federal Employment Insurance caregiving benefit provisions for the family caregiver benefit for children and the family caregiver benefit for adults may differ in weeks from provincial policy and legislation (see Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits below).

Compassionate care leave

An employee taking time off to care for a family member who is terminally ill is entitled to take up to twenty-seven (27) weeks of unpaid leave within a fifty-two (52) week period.

Federal Employment Insurance caregiving benefit provisions for compassionate care leave may differ in weeks from provincial policy and legislation (see Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits below).

Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits:

Eligibility for EI caregiving benefits, and the amount of benefit paid to the employee, is determined by federal EI policy and legislation.

Employees are strongly encouraged to inform themselves about EI benefit eligibility, benefit amounts and the application process prior to initiating a claim.  Information can be found on the Government of Canada website at:  https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/caregiving.html

EI requires that a one (1) week waiting period is served by one caregiver before benefits are paid.  If sharing benefits for the same person with other caregivers, only one caregiver serves the waiting period.  Please contact Service Canada to confirm with caregiver will serve the one-week waiting period.

Benefit Coverage, Vacation and Pension

While an employee is on caregiving leave, the University will continue to contribute the applicable premiums under the University’s group benefit plans.  Should the employee wish to continue Optional Life coverage, post-dated cheques shall be required from the employee for the period of leave to be covered.

Vacation entitlement and sick leave benefit accruals will continue during the caregiving leave period.

For employees participating in either the College Pension Plan or the Municipal Pension Plan, upon returning to work, there is a time-limited option to purchase service for periods where no or reduced contributions have been made.

Employees requesting caregiving leave should consult with their HR Consultant for more information to understand their benefits while on leave.

Leave Termination

Caregiving leave may terminate in either of the following ways, whichever comes first:

  • The requested leave period ends; or
  • The employee’s family member dies or no longer requires care or support; or
  • The maximum permitted leave period expires

Return to Work

Following the leave termination date, the employee is expected to return to work in their former position or one of equal or comparable scope and responsibility. 

If the leave terminated upon the death of the employee’s family member, the employee may request bereavement leave under the BC Employment Standards Act or, if eligible, under the applicable section of the University’s Types of Leave at RRU Policy.

Leave Request Process:

1)     An employee must request the leave from their manager as soon as they become aware of it.  A Leave Request form should be completed by the employee and submitted to their manager for signature endorsement and forwarding to Payroll with a request for a Record of Employment (ROE).  The manager or a Human Resources Consultant may complete the leave form and request the ROE on the employee’s behalf.

2)     Leaves can be divided in shorter, non-consecutive periods but must be taken in units of at least a week. A “week” starts on Sunday. If an employee requires a leave period shorter than a week, a week will be deemed to have been used.

3)     An employee must obtain a medical certificate and provide it to their manager or Human Resources Consultant as soon as is reasonably possible; this may be after the start of the leave.  If provided after the start of leave the time taken to date is considered to be included in the leave period covered by the certificate.

For Critical illness or injury leave the medical certificate must state: 

  • The health of the family member has significantly changed and as a result, the life of the family member is at risk
  • The care or support of the family member can be provided by someone who is not a medical professional
  • The period of time the family member will need care or support. The employee can only take leave that is equal to this period of time and get another certificate if it is for less than the maximum leave time allowed

For Compassionate care leave the medical certificate must state:

  • The family member has a serious medical condition and is at risk of death within 26 weeks.