Moms, dads in new jobs won't have to wait before taking parental leave

Parents working in Nova Scotia will be eligible to take parental leave as soon as they're hired, one of several leave changes that go into effect in 2019.

Changes to Labour Standards Code also include domestic violence leave after 3 months on job

The provincial changes dovetail with federal changes made to employment insurance benefits in December 2017. (Shutterstock)

Parents working in Nova Scotia will be eligible to take time off to look after a newborn as soon as they're hired, one of several leave changes that go into effect in 2019.

The Department of Labour's changes eliminate an eligibility period before people can take parental or pregnancy leave.

Biological and adoptive parents can take up to 77 weeks of leave — meaning their jobs will now be protected if they choose to spread employment insurance benefits over 18 months instead of 12, a change the federal government implemented a year ago. 

When amendments to the province's Labour Standards Code passed third and final reading in October, the Liberals voted down amendments the NDP proposed that would have granted job protection after 17 weeks. Now people won't have to wait at all. 

3 months before domestic leave

Also under the new provincial changes, after three months in a job, people will be able to take time off if they or their children experience domestic violence.

People can take up to 16 continuous weeks of unpaid leave and 10 continuous or intermittent days of protected leave. Employers must pay up to three days of leave. 

The time is meant to help people who need to move or seek medical, legal and psychological support. 

"While domestic violence can happen in any relationship, we know that women are the predominant victims. This change will help women rebuild their lives," Kelly Regan, minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, said in a news release.