New Brunswick latest province to upgrade parental leave legislation

The new family-friendly legislation also includes provisions addressing sick leave, family responsibility leave and jury duty leave.

New Brunswick is the most recent province to upgrade its child-care leave to match federal Employment Insurance benefits.

The legislation, to take effect Dec. 31, will protect the jobs of new or newly-adoptive parents taking child-care leave for up to 37 weeks. The combined current maternity leave of 17 weeks and the new child-care leave of 37 weeks taken by one or both parents cannot total more than 52 weeks.

Other legislation

The government also introduced legislation to increase the number of days under the bereavement leave provision from three unpaid days to five consecutive unpaid calendar days. It also increases vacation leave to three weeks from two for workers with eight years on the job with the same employer.

The new legislation introduces provisions providing:

•sick leave of up to five unpaid days a year;
•family responsibility leave of up to three unpaid days a year; and
•job protection during an unpaid leave for workers called to court or jury duty.

The amendments would protect employees from dismissal, suspension, lay-offs, penalties or discipline in the areas of sick leave, family responsibility leave and court or jury duty leave. Protection is already provided for vacation, bereavement and child-care leave.

To be eligible for the sick leave provision, a worker must have been continuously employed for at least 90 days with the same employer. The employer may require a medical certificate after three consecutive days of absence.

The family responsibility leave of up to three unpaid days a year is intended to help employees cope with and respond to health, education or care needs of a person in a close family relationship. The court or jury leave protects an employee against job loss if he or she is served with a summons, called for jury selection or is required to serve as a juror.

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