Budget 2016: Government commits to improving compassionate care leave and parental leave benefits

The federal government has committed to providing more flexibility in parental leave benefits and making compassionate care benefits easier to access and more inclusive for those who provide care for seriously ill family members.

While it offered few details budget announcement on March 22, the government said it would pursue those objectives over the course of its mandate.

Read: Will 18-month parental leave become reality?

It also said it would reduce the employment insurance waiting period from two weeks to one. That could increase the number and amount of short-term disabilities claims faced by plan sponsors, said Eckler in a budget notice, since they would have to reduce their own waiting period in order to preserve any EI premium reduction.

The budget also said it would extend the maximum duration of work-sharing agreements from a current length of 38 weeks to an extension of 76 weeks.

“Extending work-sharing agreements will help employers retain skilled employees and avoid the costs of recruiting and training new employees, and will help employees maintain their skills and jobs while supplementing their earnings with EI benefits,” said the budget document.

Read: How to bridge the parental leave divide

The government also said it will explore ways to ensure that federally regulated employees are better able to manage the demands of paid work and their personal and family responsibilities outside of work.

“Many Canadians struggle to balance the responsibilities of work and family, which can affect their overall well-being and productivity at work,” said the budget document. “Flexible work arrangements, such as flexible start and finish times or the ability to work from home, can help employees to balance these responsibilities.”

Read more stories about the impact of Budget 2016