Minister's mat leave sets precedent for legislature
Newfoundland and Labrador's house of assembly has taken on a labour issue with a difference.
The house has struck a committee — in itself not a remarkable event, except that it will have to break new ground on benefits many other workers take for granted.
Environment Minister Charlene Johnson delivered a girl this weekend, becoming the first MHA to give birth while in office.
House Speaker Roger Fitzgerald said the legislature is now obliged to sort out maternity rules and policies surrounding Johnson's pay.
"We thought that it was time to strike a committee and provide members with clear direction of what their entitlements should be, and have everybody knowing what's there and what's not there, and making the public know what members get when they're off on paternal leave, or sick leave, or whatever," Fitzgerald said Tuesday.
Fitzgerald said when he consulted other jurisdictions to learn about their policies on parental leave, he found none had one.
This is not the first time Johnson, 33, has broken new ground in the legislature. In the 2003 election, when she was 27, she became the youngest woman ever elected to the provincial legislature.