Policy Statement

The City of Toronto provides up to twenty eight (28) weeks unpaid Family Medical Leave in accordance with the Employment Standards Act to employees who need to take a leave to provide care and support to a family member who has a serious medical condition where there is a significant risk of death occurring within a period of twenty six (26) weeks.


This policy applies to all City of Toronto employees including political staff working in the offices of Members of Council.


Family Member

For the purpose of this policy, family member is defined as:

  1. The employee’s spouse (includes common law and same sex partner)
  2. A parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee
  3. A child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  4. A brother or sister of the employee.
  5. A grandparent of the employee or of the employee’s spouse.
  6. A grandchild of the employee or of the employee’s spouse.
  7. The father-in-law or mother-in-law of the employee.
  8. A brother-in-law or sister-in-law of the employee.
  9. A son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or of the employee’s spouse.
  10. An uncle or aunt of the employee or of the employee’s spouse.
  11. The nephew or niece of the employee or of the employee’s spouse.
  12. The spouse of the employee’s grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.
  13. A foster parent of the employee’s spouse.
  14. A person who considers the employee to be like a family member.

Note: In numbers 4 to 8 a reference to a relationship includes the corresponding “step” relationship.

Qualified Health Practitioner

A qualified physician, registered nurse or psychologist, licensed to practice in Ontario or the jurisdiction in which care or treatment is being provided.

Provide care and support:

Providing psychological or emotional support, arranging for care by a third party provider or directly providing or participating in the care of the family member.


Requirement for medical certificate

An employee is entitled to a leave of absence without pay of up to twenty eight weeks to provide care or support to a family member, if a qualified health practitioner issues a certificate stating that the individual has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks or a shorter period.

Duration of leave

When the health practitioner issues a certificate, an employee may take the Family Medical Leave within the 26-week period specified in the medical certificate. For example an employee may begin the leave as soon as the certificate is issued or may choose to wait to start the leave, as long as the leave does not extend beyond the designated end of the 26-week period.

The employee may remain on a leave for twenty eight weeks or the last day of the week in which the family member dies.

The twenty eight (28) weeks of a Family Medical Leave do not have to be taken consecutively but an employee may only take a leave in periods of entire weeks.

“Week” is defined for Family Medical Leave purposes as a period of seven consecutive days beginning on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday. Week is defined in this way to correspond with the beginning and end of the week set for Employment Insurance (EI) entitlement purposes.

Sharing the leave

If two or more employees (employed by the City) take this leave to provide care and support for a specific family member, the twenty eight weeks of Family Medical Leave must be shared between them. For example if one spouse takes ten weeks to care for his or her child, the other spouse would be able to take only eighteen weeks of Family Medical Leave.

Extension of leave

If employees request an extension beyond the twenty eight weeks leave, they must submit a request to their supervisor for an unpaid leave of absence. The supervisor decides if this extension can be granted. If the request is approved, the extended leave can be covered by vacation, Voluntary Leave, or Leave without Pay as well as personal leave provisions contained in the applicable collective agreements.

Subsequent leaves

If an employee takes a leave and the family member does not die within 26 weeks, the employee may take another family medical leave at a later time and requires another medical certificate for that purpose.

Employment Insurance Benefits

All employees covered under the Employment Standards Act are entitled to take a Family Medical Leave. Those employees who qualify may also be able to access Compassionate Care Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Salary & Benefits


Basic benefits coverage (health, dental, group life insurance, STD and LTD) continue during Family Medical Leave.

Benefit coverage for part-time employees continue to be on a pro-rated basis.

Employees are responsible for premiums that they would normally pay for benefits that are not covered by the basic plan, for example additional coverage for group life insurance.


If employees want to maintain pension service credits they must pay their pension contributions for the duration of the leave. The city will match these contributions.


Employees’ annual vacation entitlement is not affected by this leave.

Sick Pay

Employees, who accumulate sick leave credits, continue to earn sick credits during the period of leave.

Service and Seniority

Employees accumulate full service and seniority during the leave. However, Family Medical Leave days are not counted towards the completion of the probationary period.

Increments and Pay for Performance

Bargaining unit employees’ increments are not affected by this leave.

Non-union employees receive the full merit level increase based on their performance for the duration of the Family Medical Leave. Any further leave without pay is subject to pro-ration of the merit level increase and market rate adjustment.


Notifying supervisors

Employees who wish to take Family Medical Leave must advise their manager or supervisor before taking the leave. If prior notice is not possible because of the urgency of the situation, employees should inform their managers/supervisors as soon as possible. This notification can be done via the Time Off module in SuccessFactors.

If employees are not sure when they will be returning to work, they should contact their manager or supervisor at a later date to advise of their return to work. If there is a change in the return to work date, supervisors must e-mail the new return to work date to Payroll as soon as they receive the information from employees.

Information for Payroll

At the start of the leave, the Pensions, Payroll & Employee Benefits Division sends a letter to the employee to explain that benefits will be protected on condition that proof is submitted that the requested leave is a Family Medical Leave.

Related Information

Family Medical Leave – Questions and Answers

Approved by

Executive Management Team

Date Approved

November 8, 2004

Last Updated

October 16, 2020