Caregiving is extremely stressful, tiring and often leads to the caregiver feeling burdened. Financial stress is often at the top of the list of worries.
If your employee needs to take time off work as a caregiver, as an employer you can help them explore the availability of income replacement options within the workplace insurance plan. A human resources professional and/or a union representative may be able to advise the employee on their coverage and rights.
Caregivers who are having health problems or having difficulty adjusting to a stressful life event or circumstance causing anxiety may be eligible for insurance if this is preventing them from working. They will need to consult a physician and obtain verification of such disability to be eligible for funding support.
Employment Insurance benefits for caregivers
There are three federal government income replacement options available through Employment Insurance (EI): the Sickness Benefit, the Compassionate Care Benefit, and the Parents of Critically Ill Children Benefit.
When caregivers become ill while having difficulty adjusting to a stressful life event or at critical moments of the care recipient’s illness, they may be eligible for the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit, which can partially replace wages for up to 15 weeks.
To be eligible, the caregiver:
- cannot work because of sickness
- has paid sufficiently into the plan
- has seen their normal weekly earnings drop by more than 40%
- meets other eligibility criteria
If the caregiver works while receiving benefits, the government will deduct the entire amount earned from the benefit.
Compassionate Care Benefit
A cancer caregiver may be eligible for the Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) if the person they are caring for is within 26 weeks of passing away. This benefit may also be combined with other EI programs for up to a total of 102 weeks. Click here for information on CCB details and how to sign up.
Special Benefit for Parents of Critically Ill Children
Special Benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children (PCIC) is a program available to those who are caring for a child with a life-threatening illness or injury. Parents can receive up to 35 weeks of employment insurance support.
Other helpful resources
- When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers – Employment and Social Development Canada
- Sandwich Generation Feels the Press: HR Tips For Supporting Caregivers – Stephanie Chan, HRVOICE.org