What Bill 203 Means for Alberta’s Caregivers

Caring or career? Given the choice, which would you choose? With Bill 203, Alberta’s caregivers won’t have to agonize.

The new bill, aptly named The Compassionate Care Leave bill, was recently passed in the Alberta legislature and has been warmly welcomed by working caregivers. The concept of the bill is simple… provincial caregivers requiring time off from their careers to help an aging family member close to death can receive up to eight weeks of benefits within a 26-week time period. Furthermore, employers must respect this time and not lay off or dismiss a caregiving employee while he/she receives benefits plus allow him/her back to the same position at the same seniority and rate of pay. This eight-week window allows caregivers to focus completely on a loved one’s needs without the worry of not having a job (and the associated income…) to return to, after all is said and done.

While this bill’s passing is too late to help me, I completely support the move. I well remember having to juggle my caregiving and my career, and recall being torn between these two expectations. Multi-tasking can be difficult at the best of times (I often believe that the more a person tries to accomplish, the less work gets done, or work becomes compromised) and it became even more challenging for me back then.

Tending to caregiving responsibilities prior to work, slipping out at lunch, or running another errand for Mom and Dad after my work day was done, proved to be the norm. I worried about my phone ringing at work with an emergency and that I would have to rush out in response. I was anxious about what my supervisor might think if I took excessive time off — even for valid caregiving purposes. Thinking back, I can’t honestly say that I was always focused and/or productive at work because I was frequently emotionally distracted and thinking about my parents.

Caregiving, at the best of times, can be intensely difficult. Alberta’s Bill 203 is one step towards making a caregiver’s life just a little easier. To learn more about Bill 203 (and/or to read the bill in its entirety), take a look at http://www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index.aspx?p=bills_status&selectbill=203.

About Canadian-caregivers-guide-largeRick Lauber is a former co-caregiver who (with his two sisters) helped to care for both of his elderly parents.

Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians is available in our Web store. where you can preview content from the book and view the complete table of contents.

For more information, please visit Rick’s blog: http://www.caregiversguideforcanadians.com/.

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