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Natural caregivers

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).

Short-term absence

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.

Extended absence

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.

Laws and regulations

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