Parents dealing with tragedy and trauma involving their children will get job protection to take leave, the Manitoba government announced on Friday.

"I can imagine nothing more painful than losing a child. These changes will make sure parents in tragic circumstance don't also have to fear losing their jobs," Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard said.

"These new leaves will help them continue providing for their families during a very difficult time."

Under the proposed legislative amendments, parents would be allowed:

  • Up to 37 weeks off work to care for a critically ill child.
  • Up to 104 weeks off work if a child has died as a result of a crime.
  • Up to 52 weeks off work if a child has disappeared as a result of a crime.

Parents who have worked at the same employer for at least 30 days will qualify, as long as the child is under the age of 18.

The proposed amendments to Manitoba's Employment Standards Code are designed to complement new federal income support benefits. The federal benefits will begin being available in January 2013 for parents of a murdered or missing child and in June 2013 for parents of a critically ill child.

Employees entitled to such a leave from their job must be a person who has care, custody or control of the child and is considered to be like a close relative, whether or not they are related, according to the province.

The leaves are based on unanimous recommendations by the Labour Management Review Committee, which is made up of business and labour representatives.

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