Benefits to family caregivers improved

Personal support worker striking to survive

Caregiving for a loved one got a tad easier about a month ago. The “Leaves to Help Families Act,” recently passed by the Ontario government, means that you can receive up to 8 weeks’ leave if you are caring for a relative that is seriously ill.

If you find yourself in the terribly difficult position of caring for a critically ill child, you may be able to take off up to 37 weeks and have your job saved for you for when you need to go back to work.

This new law doesn’t mean that you’ll make any more money while you’re caregiving full-time, but it does mean that you can’t be fired for needing to take that important time off.

The last thing people need to be worrying about when a health crisis strikes is how to afford all the extra costs or how to fit in extra shifts at work. Unfortunately it’s the first thing that working people without generous wages or benefits must think about.

SEIU Healthcare worked to back the passage of this bill last year because of our members. Our members are caregivers in their professional lives, but many of them also do caregiving for their own elderly family, plus their kids or grandkids.

There aren’t many benefits available to caregivers. This new law recognizes their struggles and provides a little bit of relief.

G.W.

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