Compassionate & Compassionate Care Leave

You may need to take time off work to care for a family member who is extremely ill, or on the death of a family member. The first type of leave is called a compassionate care leave, and the second type of leave is known as a compassionate or bereavement leave.

What is the compassionate care leave?

There are provincial and federal government programs in place that allow you to take a compassionate care leave to care for a terminally ill family member.

There are two parts of a compassionate care leave. You need to apply for both of them:

  • an unpaid leave from UBC of up to eight weeks that you are entitled to under the BC Employment Standards Act, and
  • a Compassionate Care Benefit where you receive Employment Insurance benefits for 26 weeks if you meet eligibility requirements.

A compassionate care leave provides up to eight weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for you to care for or support a family member if a medical practitioner issues a certificate stating that your family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. If you need more than eight weeks away from work, you can apply for a general leave.

You may also be eligible for up to 26 weeks of EI Compassionate Care Benefits from Employment & Social Development Canada (ESDC). These benefits are administered by Service Canada.

Who is considered a family member?

You may receive EI Compassionate Care Benefits to care for an eligible family member, as defined by ESDC.

You may also receive EI Compassionate Care Benefits to care for a gravely ill person if that person considers you a family member, such as a close friend or neighbour. You must submit a signed Compassionate Care Benefits Attestation form from the gravely ill person or their legal representative.

How do I apply for an unpaid compassionate care leave?

You are eligible for up to eight weeks of job-protected compassionate care unpaid leave from UBC.

To apply for unpaid compassionate care leave, send a letter to your department head or manager that:

  • states when you expect to leave and return to work and
  • includes a copy of the medical certificate from a doctor or medical practitioner stating that your family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. Save the original for your EI Compassionate Care benefits application.

The personal information provided in the medical certificate is collected under section 26(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, RSBC 1996, c. 165 and will be used for the purposes of leave administration.

Your department will notify Financial Operations – Payroll by submitting a leave of absence form.

When can I start my compassionate care leave?

You may start your unpaid compassionate care leave and EI Compassionate Care Benefits on the earlier of the following weeks, and within 26 weeks of that week:

  • the week the doctor signs the medical certificate, or
  • the week the doctor examines the gravely ill family member, or
  • the week the family member became gravely ill, if the doctor can determine that date (for example, the date of the test results).

You do not need to take your leave all at once. You can take the leave in units of one or more weeks, up to a total maximum of eight weeks. This is also the case if you have applied for and are receiving EI Compassionate Care Benefits.

If you are taking compassionate care leave to care for an family member who falls under EI’s definition, you should apply for Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care Benefits from Service Canada as soon as you know the dates of your leave.

When does my compassionate care leave end?

Your compassionate care leave will end:

  • after eight weeks, or
  • after the gravely ill family member dies or no longer requires care or support (benefits are paid to the end of the week); or
  • the 26-week period has expired.

If your family member does not die within the original 26-week period, you are allowed to take further unpaid leave after obtaining a new medical certificate. However, the maximum number of EI benefits that is payable is 26 weeks.

What if I need to take more than eight weeks off?

If you wish to take additional leave after the expiry of your compassionate care leave, you can apply for a general leave.

What are the EI Compassionate Care Benefits?

The compassionate care leave is an unpaid leave. However, you can receive up to 26 weeks of EI Compassionate Care Benefits from Service Canada if you:

  • meet Employment Insurance (EI) eligibility rules (600 insurable hours in the 12-month period before the start of the leave) and
  • serve a one-week waiting period.

The payment is generally around 55% of your pre-leave earnings up to a specific maximum amount.

How do I apply?

You will apply for the EI Compassionate Care Benefit through Service Canada. If you are taking compassionate care leave to care for someone who meets the EI definition of a family member, you should apply for EI Compassionate Care Benefits as soon as you know the dates of your leave.

A Record of Employment (ROE) is required for your EI application. Your Payroll Representative will send your ROE electronically to Service Canada after your last paycheque before your compassionate care leave starts. You do not need to request a ROE from UBC.

Please note that the original medical certificate, to be completed by your family member (or family member’s representative) and their doctor or medical practitioner, must accompany your application. The personal information collected in the medical certificate provided to EI is administered in accordance with the EI Act and Privacy Act.

Who do I talk to about my Record of Employment?

If you would like to speak with someone at UBC regarding your Record of Employment:

Will I still receive my benefits when I’m on maternity leave?

See the section Benefits Coverage while on a Leave for more information.

Compassionate or bereavement leaves

If a family member dies, you may be eligible to take several days paid leave.

UBC Employee  Group Allowed Length of Compassionate or Bereavement Leave
Academic Executive Not eligible.
Administrative Executive You will be granted three days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as a parent, grandparent, spouse, partner, child, in-law, brother or sister.

Upon request, there is the option to extend your paid leave for an additional three days.

BCGEU Childcare You will be granted three days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as a child, (including stepchild), parent, spouse, partner, sibling, parent-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren and any other relative permanently residing with you.

Upon request, there is the option to extend your paid leave for an additional three days.

BCGEU Okanagan You will be granted up to five days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as  a parent, spouse, partner, sibling, child, partner’s child, ward, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and any other relative permanently residing with you or who you reside with.

As well, with the approval of your department head, you may also have one day’s leave without a deduction in pay to attend a funeral of a friend or relation not defined as above.

CUPE 116 You will be granted five days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as a parent, spouse, partner or child.

You are entitled to three days of paid leave for the death of a brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather or grandchild.

Permanent staff of the UBC Aquatics Centre are entitled to up to three days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as a parent, step-parent, spouse, partner, child, brother, sister, parents-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren. To be eligible for a leave for the death of a partner, you must have cohabitated with your partner for one year before their death

CUPE 2278 Not eligible.
CUPE 2950 You will be granted three days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as a parent, grandparent, spouse, partner, child or ward, grandchild, brother, sister, father-in-law or mother-in-law.

Upon request, there is the option to extend your paid leave for an additional three days. With the approval of your department head, you may also have a half-day of leave without a deduction in pay to attend a funeral or memorial service.

Executive Administrative You will be granted three days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as a parent, grandparent, spouse, partner, child, ward, brother, sister, grandchild, or in-law

Upon request, there is the option to extend your paid leave for an additional three days. Upon approval, you may also have a half-day paid leave to attend a funeral or memorial service. The half day may be extended to a full day if you have a significant role in arranging or conducting the service or ceremony.

Faculty Not eligible.
Farm Workers You are entitled to five days of paid leave for the death of your parent, spouse, partner or child.

You are entitled to three days of paid leave for the death of a brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather or grandchild.

In special circumstances, you may be granted further leave without loss of pay or benefits. Upon approval, you may also have a half-day paid leave to attend a funeral or memorial service. The half day may be extended to a full day if you have a significant role in arranging or conducting the service or ceremony.

IUOE 882 You will be granted three to five days of paid leave for the death of a family member. With the approval of your department head, you may also have a half-day of leave without a deduction in pay to attend a funeral or memorial service.
Management & Professional You will be granted three days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member, which is defined as a parent, grandparent, spouse, common-law spouse, same sex partner, child, in-law, brother or sister.

Upon request, there is the option to extend your paid leave for an additional three days.

Non-Union Technicians and Research Assistants You are entitled to five days of paid leave for the death of your parent, spouse, partner or child.

You are entitled to three days of paid leave for the death of a brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather or grandchild.

In special circumstances, you may be granted further leave without loss of pay or benefits. Upon approval, you may also have a half-day paid leave to attend a funeral or memorial service. The half day may be extended to a full day if you have a significant role in arranging or conducting the service or ceremony.

Postdoctoral Fellows (Award Recipients) You may take bereavement leave in accordance with your fellowship/granting agency. Ensure that your supervisor is informed of your leave and the reason for it.
Post-doctoral Fellows (Employees) You are entitled to up to three days of unpaid leave on the death of a member of your immediate family, which is defined as a spouse, child, parent, guardian, sibling, grandchild or grandparent of an employee; and any person who lives with the employee as a member of the employee’s family. These days do not have to be consecutive, or start on the date of death. At the discretion of the Department and Supervising Faculty member, you may be paid bereavement leave.