eternity leave
n. Paid leave given to a person who needs to provide full-time care for a dying spouse or family member.

Example Citation:
Palliative care doctors and caregivers are calling for legal changes to provide job protection and paid leave for people caring for dying loved ones.

They say just as the parent of a newborn child receives maternity leave, the care provider for a terminally ill person — often a child taking care of a dying parent — should get 'eternity' leave.
—Mark Quinn, "A plea for 'eternity care'," The Medical Post, April 27, 2000

Earliest Citation:
Statistics Canada reported in 1996 that women between 45 and 64 provide the most unpaid care to sick or dying seniors, with 331,563 of them devoting more than five hours a week to the task. In total, some 1.25 million family caregivers provide one or more hours of care to seniors each week.

Because of aging baby boomers and health care restructuring, the burden of care will fall on family members when their loved ones are dying.

And because of health care restructuring, many terminally ill older Canadians have to be cared for at home. This is where Gardham's suggestion for an ''eternity'' leave — much like a maternity leave — comes in.

Mothers and now fathers can take leave for newborns without fear of losing their jobs because of maternity and paternity benefits.

''So why not eternity legislation to allow family members to care for their dying loved ones?'' asks Gardham.
—Judy Creighton, "Woman campaigns for ''eternity leave'' for caregivers," Canadian Press Newswire, March 9, 1999

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