Survivors of sexual violence, stalking can take domestic violence leave: province

The Manitoba government is amending the employment standards code so that sexual violence and stalking fall under interpersonal violence, allowing survivors to take domestic violence leave.

Sexual violence, stalking fall under interpersonal violence, allowing survivors to take leave

Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, and minister responsible for status of women, announced changes to domestic violence leave Monday.

The Manitoba government is amending the employment standards code so that domestic and sexual violence and stalking fall under interpersonal violence, allowing victims of interpersonal violence to take domestic violence leave. 

Under the Domestic Violence and Stalking Act, cases of domestic violence are situations where one person is violent toward another person they live or have lived with, or with whom they are in a familial, parental, spousal, conjugal or intimate relationship.

The proposed change would extend eligibility to all victims of sexual violence and stalking, and ensure an employee could also take leave if their child or a person under their care or control has witnessed or been harmed by interpersonal violence.

In the past, victims of stalking or acts of sexual violence where they didn't know the perpetrator "fell through the cracks," and wouldn't be eligible for leave under the act, said Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox. 

"So this really expands it. You don't have to know the perpetrator," said Cox, who is also the minister responsible for the status of women.

"It ... gives women and girls the opportunity to take this very important leave at a very difficult time in their life."

This amendment would bring Manitoba into alignment with British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, according to the province.

Any employee who is a victim of domestic violence and has worked for the same employer for at least 90 days is entitled to domestic violence leave. While on leave, the person can seek physical or psychological help for themselves or their child, obtain services from a victim services' organization, temporarily or permanently relocate to a safe place, and seek legal help or law enforcement assistance.

There are two options for people going on leave: employees can take 10 consecutive or intermittent days of leave per year, and up to 17 weeks per year in one continuous period in a way that best meets their personal circumstances.


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