Saturday, 20 August 2011

LWOP for caregiving

Yes, an election looms in Ontario.
The latest campaign platform from Ontario's Liberals:

Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to grant workers up to eight weeks of unpaid leave if they need time off work to care for a seriously ill loved one.

Now forgive my cynicism, but who among us can afford to take Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for two months?

To McGuinty's credit, this initiative means that the caregiver would keep her job. (For the most part, caregivers are female!) But I have many hospice clients who need care because they MUST go out to a job that is a hourly wage. They have no leave, no way of hiring professional, outside care. Many must take time off to take care recipients to medical appointments, as well.

This is too little. The Family Medical Leave, at least, gives one EI benefits, Compassionate Care Benefits, but this leave is limited, and did not help me out at all. In my case my late mother died 6 weeks after I moved, and changed jobs, to be closer to her and provide care. My father was having radiation treatments, my mother chemotherapy.

For family members recovering from a surgery or a much more short term illness, then perhaps an 8-week timeframe would be helpful. But, I repeat, how many can afford to skip two months rent or mortgage payments? This is much too little.

McGuinty announces time off for workers with ill relatives

Helping Caregivers Spend More Time With Sick Family Members

Currently, Ontarians are entitled to an eight-week unpaid leave of absence to take care of loved ones who are terminally ill. The new Family Caregiver Leave would build on the existing *Family Medical Leave so that whether a young child spends time in the hospital or an elderly parent suffers a broken hip, family members would be granted extended time to care for and support their loved ones.  

*Family Medical Leave requires a physician's letter indicating that the patient is terminal, within 26 weeks. Six weeks of Employment Insurance benefits called Compassionate Care Benefits may be paid to EI eligible employees taking Ontario's Family Medical Leave.

My mother had her lymph node removed on one side of her body to prevent her cancer from metastasizing. 
No one in their right mind was able to tell me how ill she was, cancer tumours #6 and 7 began growing, and no doctor was able to tell me the timeline. Somehow, the oncologist allowed her to undergo chemo, without a full medical history: she was celiac, lactose intolerant, and frail. The chemo killed her. The removal of her lymph node (just in case) resulted in painful lymphedema and destroyed her quality of life. She did not ask questions about side effects and potential cure rates. 

1 comment:

Powell River Books said...

Caring for Mom has been a 24-hour a day job. Good thing I'm retired or I wouldn't be able to do it. Fortunately she can afford to pay for home attendants so I can take breaks since I'm an only child. Otherwise it would be overwhelming. Other than being able to claim the cost of attendants on her taxes, there are no other benefits available to her here in the States. - Margy