Workers may be absent from work to fulfil obligations relating to the health of a person for whom they act as a natural caregiver. During their absence, their employment relationship is protected.
To be recognized as a natural caregiver, the worker must apply to health and social services professionals to obtain a certificate.
Certificate of informal caregiver status
Various professionals in the health and social services sector can provide a certificate of natural caregiver status, including:
- an occupational therapist
- a nurse
- a physician
- a speech therapist
- a physiotherapist
- a psychologist
- a psychoeducator
- a midwife
- a marriage and family therapist
- a physical rehabilitation therapist
- a social worker
These professionals can use the CNESST form “Attestation d’une personne agissant à titre de proche aidant”(in French only).
A worker who is a natural caregiver is entitled to 10 days of leave for family or parental obligations. The absence must be related to the health of the person for whom they act as a natural caregiver.
After 3 months of uninterrupted service with their employer, a worker who must be absent from work as a natural caregiver could be entitled to 2 days of absence with pay if these days have not been used for another reason during the year.
A person who acts as a natural caregiver may be absent from work, without pay, regardless of the length of uninterrupted service, for a maximum of:
- 16 weeks over a 12-month period if the person for whom they act as a natural caregiver has a serious accident or serious illness
- 27 weeks over a 12-month period if the person for whom they act as a natural caregiver has a serious and potentially fatal illness, as attested by a medical certificate
- 36 weeks if the person who has a serious and potentially fatal illness is a minor child
Notice to the employer
If the worker plans to be absent for a short period, they must notify their employer and make reasonable efforts to limit the length of their absence. Under certain circumstances, the employer may ask them to provide a document attesting to the reasons for their absence and the length of the absence.
In the event of a serious accident or illness of a relative, the employer must be notified as soon as possible of the absence and the reasons for it.
A medical certificate must attest to the serious and potentially fatal illness.