On April 9, 2018, the Minister of Labour announced proposed changes to B.C. employment law that would provide mothers more time off work before and after giving birth, as well as giving parents more leave if they are suffering from the death or disappearance of a child.
The proposed amendments include:
Pregnancy leave: Allowing mothers to take maternity leave 13 weeks before their expected due date, instead of 11 weeks. (The actual length of pregnancy leave is unchanged, remaining at 17 weeks.)
Parental leave: New parents can take a longer unpaid parental leave to care for their baby, offering up to 18 months of leave for birth mothers, while ensuring job protection. Bill 6 amends section 51 of the ESA to ensure statutory job protection to those parents who choose the new, extended, EI parental benefit option of 61 weeks (as opposed to the standard option of 35 weeks). Specifically, Bill 6:
Provides birth mothers who take pregnancy leave access to up to 61 consecutive weeks of parental leave immediately after the end of their pregnancy leave. For a birth mother who takes both the full 17 weeks of pregnancy leave and the full 61 weeks of parental leave, the total possible leave is now 78 weeks (18 months); and,
Provides parents who have not taken pregnancy leave or who are adopting, access to up to 62 consecutive weeks of parental leave beginning within 78 weeks (18 months) of the child’s birth or adoption.
Compassionate care leave: The amendment allows parents to take up to two years of unpaid leave if a child dies before age 19 and provides up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave to parents whose children go missing due to a crime. According to the ministry, B.C. is currently the only province where parents cannot take leave for this reason.
Crime-related child disappearance leave: A proposed new section to the Employment Standards Act, which provides an employee who is a parent with up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within a period that ends 53 weeks following the crime-related disappearance of their child.
Child death leave: Proposed new section to the Employment Standards Act, which provides an employee who is a parent with up to 104 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within a period that ends 105 weeks following the death of their child under any circumstance.
To learn more about the amendments to the Employment Standards Act, click here.
The amendments would need to be approved by legislature to go in effect. These are proposed amendments at this stage.
If you’d like to discuss this topic in greater detail or have any questions, please reach out to a member of your Arbutus Financial Team.