Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Compassionate Care Leave Definition:

Paid or unpaid leave to care or support a gravely ill family member.

Related Terms: Bereavement Leave

A species of authorized leave from work which is either paid or unpaid, or paid at a lesser amount, and extended to an employee to provide care to a gravely ill or dying family member.

This type of leave does not exists at common law but must be found in either the individual employment contract, a collective bargaining agreement or, in some jurisdictions, as set out by law.

Compassionate leave presents two challenges: one is to define the level of family member for which leave might be taken, and the other is to limit the sickness for which compassionate leave may be sought.

Typically, compassionate leave will be extended for the care of a child, a spouse or a parent's grave or terminal illness.

As to the threshold of illness, and by way of example, the Canadian Labour Code, at §206.3(2):

"... every employee is entitled to and shall be granted a leave of absence from employment of up to eight weeks to provide care or support to a family member of the employee if a qualified medical practitioner issues a certificate stating that the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks"

French: congé de soignant

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