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Job-Protected Family Medical Leave A Real, Positive Change

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Job-Protected Family Medical Leave A Real, Positive Change

Up To Eight Weeks Job-Protected Time Off Work For Those Looking After Seriously Ill Family Members

Office of the Premier

TORONTO -- The McGuinty government is preparing legislation for this spring that would provide up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off work for those taking care of seriously ill family members, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today.

"Providing job-protected family medical leave is a real, positive change for families who need to care for a seriously ill family member without fear of job loss," Premier McGuinty said.

"Our people's health is our most precious resource. We share a responsibility to protect it from harm and care for it in times of need. And we owe it to families to support them when they assume that responsibility."

Providing job-protected family medical leave builds prosperity for businesses by creating a more positive, loyal and productive workforce for employers, said Labour Minister Chris Bentley.

"Employees who have taken job-protected family medical leave tend to return to their workplace better able to focus on their jobs and are likely to be more loyal to their employer for providing this benefit," Bentley said.

The direct cost of absenteeism due to high levels of caregiver stress has been estimated at just over $1 billion a year in Canada, with indirect costs of an additional $1 to $2 billion.

While the new law is being drafted, employees who currently want to take time off work for family medical purposes are advised to first check with their employer to ensure their job is protected.

Currently, employees of companies with more than 50 employees are entitled to 10 days of job-protected emergency leave -- days they can take off, for example, to stay home with a sick child or attend funerals.

The new family medical leave will be designed to provide up to eight weeks to care for or support seriously ill family members, such as a spouse battling cancer.

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