Chapter 1: The juggling act

Considering time off work

It was such a relief when I got approval from my work to reduce my hours and complete all my reporting from home. This allowed me to care for my mom. I only had to be in the office one day a week.

Some employers allow employees to take leave without pay for the long-term care of family members. Unpaid leaves can vary from three weeks all the way up to five years. Some employers even provide paid caregiving leave.

Employers set their own policies on when and how a leave will be granted. Check with your employer to see what might be available for you.

If you are considering taking time off work to provide care, government benefits may be available to you, for example,

compassionate care benefit

Available through the Employment Insurance Program, compassionate care benefits provide a maximum of 26 weeks benefits to those who are eligible. If you are unemployed and already receiving EI benefits, you can also apply for the compassionate care benefits. Learn more through the link in the Helpful resources section below.


Some provinces may also offer additional caregiver benefits. *See the link in the Helpful resources section below.

Alternative work arrangements

If you continue working, some employers may allow you to:

  • Work flex hours (such as coming in early to leave early).
  • Reduce your work hours.
  • Work from home some or all of the time.  
​​ Helpful resources

Caregiver module series: Module 3 – Preparing for caregiving at home, Chapter 3: Getting organized and Chapter 4: Financial assistance.

Refer to the helpful resources at the end of this module for more links to financial programs.