New Brunswick announces 5 days of paid leave for domestic violence victims

Proposed regulations under Employment Standards Act open to public input until July 13

Original Article: CBC News  |  June 29, 2018  |

Proposed regulations under the New Brunswick Employment Standards Act  that would provide workplace leave for victims of domestic, intimate partner or sexual assault violence, including five days with pay, have been posted for public review.

Citizens have until July 13 to submit feedback on the draft regulations, Premier Brian Gallant announced on Friday.

"Ending this type of violence and better supporting those affected by it is an important part of advancing women's equality," Gallant said in a statement, noting women are often the victims of such abuse.

"Advancing women's equality is important for economic growth and the quality of life of our families."

Under the proposed changes, workers could take leave of up to 10 days that could be used intermittently or continuously, and up to 16 weeks that could be used in one continuous period, of which the first five days would be paid.

The new measures will enable people to deal with safety concerns, seek medical attention, obtain support services, relocate temporarily or permanently and seek legal or law enforcement assistance, Gallant said.

The Atlantic director of Unifor, Canada's largest union in the private sector, which collaborated with the province on the changes, commended the government for its "very important leadership role" in standing up for victims of domestic and sexual violence

"This has set the standard for Atlantic Canada, and will make a difference in the lives of women and children in the province," Lana Payne said in a statement.

On Prince Edward Island, an Opposition bill that would give employees up to three days paid leave after experiencing domestic or sexual violence passed second reading in May.

The Nova Scotia government introduced legislation in March that would allow victims of domestic violence to take up to 16 continuous weeks of leave without pay.

Consulted with 120 stakeholders

Unifor, which represents 315,000 workers, will continue to push the governments of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and other provinces to "do the right thing" and also introduce paid leave, said Payne.

"Paid domestic violence leave makes escaping violence possible," by providing financial support and job protection, she said.

Ontario, and Manitoba provide five days of paid domestic violence leave, while Quebec introduced a bill in March that would provide up to 26 weeks, including two days with pay.

Saskatchewan and Alberta offer protected unpaid leave.

The New Brunswick government consulted with 120 stakeholders, including Unifor Atlantic Canada and the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation, before writing the draft regulations, according to the news release.

An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act was introduced on Feb. 2 and received royal assent on March 16.