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Care/Work Law Reform to Support Family Caregivers to Balance Paid Work and Unpaid Caregiving PowerPoint Presentation
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Care/Work Law Reform to Support Family Caregivers to Balance Paid Work and Unpaid Caregiving

Care/Work Law Reform to Support Family Caregivers to Balance Paid Work and Unpaid Caregiving

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Care/Work Law Reform to Support Family Caregivers to Balance Paid Work and Unpaid Caregiving

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  1. Care/WorkLaw Reform to Support Family Caregivers to Balance Paid Work and Unpaid Caregiving Krista James Staff Lawyer British Columbia Law Institute Canadian Centre for Elder Law

  2. Family Caregiving Legal Research Project • 2 year project • Funded by the Law Foundation of BC

  3. Presentation Goals • Research parameters: work and care • Overview of the law • Look at problems with existing legal framework of support for caregivers – consider the stories of 4 caregivers • Consider options for reform • Focus on work flexibility legislation

  4. Statistics on family caregiving • Over 1 in 4 employed Canadians care for an elderly dependent. • The majority of employed caregivers work the equivalent of 2 full time jobs. • Absenteeism due to caregiver strain costs Canadian employers over 1 billion dollars.

  5. Statistics on family caregiving • The value of the replacement labour of unpaid family caregiving is $26 billion. • In 2007, over 2.7 million Canadians over the age of 45 – over 57% were employed. • 90% of eldercare delivered through unpaid family caregiving.

  6. Care/Work • Caregiving is work – time, effort, difficulty • Caregiving affects paid work – costs to the worker and to the employer • Caregiving is unpaid but has value – social, economic – to families, communities, employers, the health care system, the state

  7. Care/Work • Time off work to care • Reduced hours of work • Changed jobs, quit • Early retirement • Would be working if greater workplace support

  8. Private/Public • Care and work are not separate realms. • If the care economy is overburdened costs will spill over into the public sphere.

  9. Private/Public “There was a time when a matter, such as work-life balance, would have been considered a private concern for families to work out. But when the economy, as well as families’ ability to live at prevailing community standards, depends on the supply of two workers per family, and when the fertility rate continues to drop, private risks tend to be defined as public crisis.” Terrance Hunsley, “Informal Caregivers: Balancing Work and Life Responsibilities”

  10. 3 Questions • What is the law in BC? • Do the laws support family caregivers? • How could they be changed to be more supportive?

  11. Overview of BC Laws 1. Employment leave provisions 2. Measures that offset income loss (a) Income tax measures (b) Payments to caregivers (c) Pension security measures 3. Workplace accommodation of family responsibility – work flexibility

  12. Employment Leave • Employment Standards Act, R.S.B.C. • Limited support for family care • Compassionate Care Leave: 8 weeks unpaid leave for end-of-life care (s. 52.1) • Family Responsibility Leave: 5 days unpaid leave (s. 52) • Excluded employees

  13. Income Tax Measures • Caregiver Tax Credit • Non-refundable • Currently valued just $627 (federal) and $210 (provincial) = $837 • Eligibility linked to financial dependency, disability and co-residency • No link to caregiver labour

  14. Payments to Caregivers • Choice in Support for Independent Living (CSIL) • Ministry of Health • Self-managed care program • Payments to family members only by way of exceptions to policy

  15. Pension Security • Child Rearing Provision • drop out up to 7 years of low or no earnings • No equivalent for other forms of caregiving

  16. Workplace Accommodation of Family Responsibilities • Workplace flexibility • hours, location, tele-working • Currently at the employer’s discretion

  17. Workplace Accommodation of Family Responsibilities • Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the ground of family status • Must establish that a facially-neutral rule preventing adaptations to meet family care obligations amounts to discrimination

  18. Workplace Accommodation of Family Responsibilities • Test: whether “a change in a term, or condition of employment, imposed by the employer results in serious interference with a substantial parental or other family duty”. H.S.A.B.C. v. Campbell River & North Island Transition Society, 127 L.A.C. (4th) 1 (B.C.C.A.).

  19. Impact of Laws?

  20. Grace’s Story • Divorced woman caring for both school-aged children and aging mother. • Long-term caregiving required for her mother. • Works part-time due to caregiving responsibilities. • Short-term work history: out of the paid work force until her divorce.

  21. Sunita’s Story • Caring for her father-in-law following a stroke. • Likely long-term care. • Unionized employee working a full-time rotation that includes nights. • Requires schedule changes to maintain caregiving.

  22. Ingrid’s Story • Single, low-income parent of an adult child with a disability. • Long-term caregiving needs. • Income is a mix of welfare and occasional part-time work in childcare and housecleaning.

  23. Niloo’s Story • Single woman in her 30’s. • Cares for her friend. • Income is reduced because she works fewer hours and a lower paying job in order to have time for caregiving. • Friend’s care needs increasing with age.

  24. How do caregivers fare under existing laws? • Sunita cannot get leave because not end-of-life care. • Sunita cannot get accommodation of caregiving without a human rights complaint. • Ingrid is periodically and precariously employed.

  25. How do caregivers fare under existing laws? • Ingrid faces lifelong poverty. • Grace, Niloo and Ingrid face pension insecurity. • Tax measures are inaccessible.

  26. Law Reform Problem The caregiving labour of all three women is uncompensated, unrecognized and yet indispensible.




  30. Options for Reform?

  31. Canada • Saskatchewan • Labour Standards Act, R.S.S., 1978, c. L-1, s. 44.2(1)(b). • Serious Illness or Injury Leave • 12 weeks unpaid leave • 16 weeks compassionate care leave

  32. Canada • Manitoba • Income Tax Act, S.M. 1988, c. I10, s. 511(1). • Primary Caregiver Tax Credit. • Refundable tax credit for caregivers who provide significant care. • Amount: up to 1,020 per care recipient. • Can receive for up to 3 care recipients.

  33. Canada • Nova Scotia • Allowance to Aid Caregivers • $400 monthly benefit for caregivers who provide 20 hours or more of care per week.

  34. International Approaches • Sweden • Carers’ Allowance • The state pays caregivers providing extraordinarily burdensome care a taxable salary comparable to an average wage.

  35. International • Norway • Pension credits • The state makes pension plan contributions on behalf of caregivers performing more than 22 hours of care per week for a 6-month period.

  36. International • Norway • Pension credits • The state makes pension plan contributions on behalf of caregivers performing more than 22 hours of care per week for a 6-month period.

  37. International • United Kingdom and New Zealand • Work flexibility employment legislation • Requires employer to consider requests to modify terms of employment (hours of work, location) where change is required for caregiving. • Employer discretion. • Act sets out broad business grounds for refusal and there is no right of appeal.

  38. International • Australia – various state human rights laws. • Prohibit discrimination on the ground of family responsibilities or carer status. • Prohibit adverse affect discrimination family against caregivers. • An employer must accommodate an employee’s responsibilities as caregiver.

  39. International • New Zealand • Human Rights Act 1993 (N.Z.), s.21(1)(l). • Discrimination on family status • Defined to include care of children and other dependents

  40. Options for Reform • Employment leave protection for non end-of-life care • Greater income replacement under EI • Work flexibility legislation • Caregiver allowance • Refundable tax credit • Adult caregiving drop-out provision