I am caring for an adult who is very sick. Can I get EI?

2. Look at other types of benefits and leaves

Before you apply for compassionate care benefits, you should ask your employer if they will hold your job while you are on leave. It’s best to tell your employer in writing that you are taking leave and when. This information will help your employer to organize the workload while you’re gone and to decide if they can hold your job for you for that time.

There might be other benefits and leaves you can take if you need time off work to care for someone who is seriously ill. 

Family caregiver benefit for adults

Up to 15 weeks of benefits are available if you need to care for or support an adult family member who is critically ill or injured. Caregivers can be family members of the critically ill or injured person, or individuals who the person considers to be like family. 

The proposed caregiver must submit a medical certificate signed by a doctor or nurse practitioner saying that:

  • there has been a significant change in the person’s state of health, 
  • the person’s life is at risk as a result of the illness or injury, and 
  • the person requires the care or support of one or more family members. 

The 15-week family caregiver benefit for adults can be shared by more than one caregiver over a one-year period.

If you leave Canada to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured adult, you might still be able to receive the family caregiver benefit. You should still submit an application.

If the family member’s health gets worse, caregivers might be able to switch from the family caregiver benefit and start collecting compassionate care benefits

Family caregiver benefit for children 

If you are caring for a sick child, you might qualify for the family caregiver benefit for children.

Other types of leave 

If you’re covered by Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA), you may be able to take up to 3 days of family responsibility leave.

You may also be able to take a longer leave of absence even if you don’t qualify for compassionate care benefits. For example, you may be able to take:

These unpaid leaves are provided by the ESA, not by EI.

Your employer cannot threaten, fire or punish you for planning to take or taking one of these leaves.

The law says that your employer must hold your job for you while you are on one of these leaves. But the ESA does not require your employer to pay you during that time. You should speak to your employer about whether your employer can hold your job for you if you plan to take more time off than the leave allows.

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