'People should not have to lose pay when dealing with the aftermath'
British Columbia is amending its employments standards to provide up to five days of paid leave for victims of domestic and sexual harassment.
“People faced with domestic and sexual violence should not have to lose pay when dealing with the aftermath,” says Mitzi Dean, parliamentary secretary for gender equity. “The changes introduced today help support people so they can attend medical appointments and make the necessary changes to ensure they and their children are safe.”
The new bill builds on improvements made to the Employment Standards Act last year that provided up to 10 days of unpaid, job-protected leave from work for those feeling the impact of domestic or sexual violence. If passed, it will mean five of these days will be paid days, allowing workers to attend to personal needs or the needs of their family without worrying about not getting paid for time away from work.
“People facing domestic or sexual violence need far more supports to help them gain control of their lives than what was previously available in our province,” says Harry Bains, minister of labour. “We’re making another important step to add to existing supports that will make a real difference in a person’s life when they need it the most.”
The legislation was shaped by feedback from 6,261 British Columbians, as well as input from stakeholder consultation sessions and written submissions from employers, business associations and employee organizations during the fall of 2019, says the government. The consultation found that 94 per cent of employees and 83 per cent of employers supported paid leave.
On the number of days, 67 per cent supported five days and 12 per cent favoured up to 10 days.
In November, Manitoba introduced amendments to its employment standards to broaden the domestic violence leave to include victims of interpersonal violence, such as sexual violence and stalking. Saskatchewan also introduced amendments to its employment standards that will increase parental leave by eight weeks.