Manitoba

Domestic violence victims in Manitoba to get time off work with pay

Victims of domestic violence in Manitoba could get up to 17 weeks off without penalty once new legislation passes, and the security of knowing they won't lose their jobs as a result.
Changes to Manitoba's Employment Standards Code would allow those affected by domestic violence the right to take time off work without fear of job loss and up to five days of paid leave per year. (CBC)

Victims of domestic violence in Manitoba could get up to 17 weeks off without penalty once new legislation passes, and the security of knowing they won't lose their jobs as a result.

Labour Minister Erna Braun released details of the proposed legislation Wednesday. The NDP government signalled its intention to assist victims of domestic violence in its throne speech earlier this month. 

"When there is violence at home, you shouldn't have to worry about holding onto your job as you escape and rebuild," Braun said in a news release.

"This proposed first-in-Canada legislation would ensure that victims of domestic violence have financial security, job protection and flexibility to take time away from work to recover from violence."

Changes to the Employment Standards Code would allow those affected by domestic violence the right to take time off work without fear of job loss, she said, with employees entitled to up to 10 days of leave per year without penalty, including five days of paid leave.

The 10 days can be used in a row, or as needed throughout the year, for things like doctor's appointments, court dates or to make police reports, according to the province.

The government says victims of domestic violence would also be entitled to a period of leave of up to 17 weeks so they can, for example, move into a new home or take time to recover from a violent relationship.

As well, the proposed legislation would give employees the possibility of taking leave for long-term illness and injury. Extended leave for compassionate care is also part of the legislation.

"Thousands of Manitobans are victims of domestic violence each year and they often suffer alone," said Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, the minister responsible for the status of women, in the news release.

"This proposed legislation would be another step forward in helping victims escape violence and raising awareness about the effects of domestic violence to make our workplaces and communities safer for everyone." 

A provincial government spokesperson told CBC News that employers will be responsible for the five paid days, while the remaining days would be unpaid.

The 17-week period would be unpaid as well, but the province says it would guarantee that the victim would not lose their job during the time off.

The leave itself would not be eligible for employment insurance, but the province said the expanded sick leave that is being proposed would qualify for EI.

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