The Alberta government announced today that workers will now be able to take up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave from the workplace to care for a gravely sick family member.

To qualify for compassionate care leave Albertans must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Have worked at least 52 weeks for their employer.
  • Provide their employer with a certificate signed by the attending physician regarding the grave condition of the family member, and their need of care.

“No one’s job should be in jeopardy when they take time off work to care for a loved one.," said Minister of Jobs, Skills, Traiing and Labour Thomas Lukaszuk in a press release.

The new regulations go into effect immediately, the government said.

The government will allow employees taking compassionate care leave to return to their same position, or one similar,  just like new mothers coming back to work after a maternity leave.

“Having job security will reduce stress for people who are dealing with an incredibly difficult time in their lives," Edmonton-South West MLA Matt Jeneroux.

Under the new regulations, an eight-week leave may be divided into two parts to be taken within a 26-week period.

Six weeks of Employment Insurance benefits are available to some employees for compassionate care, the government said.