Quebecers to get more vacation time, sooner under proposed changes to labour laws

Quebec workers will be eligible for three weeks' vacation after just three years, and temporary foreign workers will get new protections under a bill tabled in the National Assembly Tuesday.

Bill aims to 'make life easier for individuals and families,' labour minister says

Labour Minister Dominique Vien said the proposed changes take into account the new realities of workplaces, as the population ages and family patterns change. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Quebec workers will be eligible for more vacation time, sooner, and temporary foreign workers will get new protections under a bill tabled in the National Assembly Tuesday.

The proposed legislation, part of the government's attempt to reform Quebec labour standards, comes only eight months before the next provincial election.

Labour Minister Dominique Vien said the changes "would make life easier for individuals and families, as well as for employers." 

"The many proposed changes take into account the new realities of workplaces, such as the changing family patterns, the many retirements and the aging of the population and would encourage the retention of staff in a context of scarcity of labour," she said. 

Under the legislation, workers will be eligible for three weeks' vacation after three years of employment, rather than having to wait five years.

As well, employees will be allowed to refuse to take a shift, if their work schedule is not posted five days in advance.

Workers will also be able to take a longer leave of absence in some cases.

For example, workers who could previously take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one will now be eligible to take up to 16 weeks — and as long as 36 weeks' leave to care for a minor. If the illness is potentially fatal, the leave of absence could be extended to 104 weeks.

Agencies that recruit temporary foreign workers will also need a permit and will be prohibited from withholding workers' documents, such as passports.