FREDERICTON (GNB) – Regulations providing workplace leave for individuals who experience domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence will take effect Sept. 1.

“Our government recognizes the important role workplace support can play in helping those who experience violence in their relationships move forward,’ said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “Domestic violence is absolutely unacceptable, and together we are making a difference.”

Rogers spoke on behalf of Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage.

The new regulations under the Employment Standards Act allow leave of up to 10 days to be used intermittently or continuously, and up to 16 weeks could be used in one continuous period, of which the first five days would be paid.

The government consulted with 120 stakeholders when preparing the regulations. As a means of supporting employees subject to domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence, these amendments will allow for persons to deal with safety concerns, seek medical attention, obtain support services, relocate temporarily or permanently, and seek legal or law enforcement assistance.

On Feb. 2, the provincial government introduced An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act that, among other things, introduced leave for persons subject to domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence. The act received Royal Assent on March 16. The provisions related to domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence leave will come into force on Sept. 1. All other provisions in the act came into force upon Royal Assent.

“The New Brunswick government is playing a very important leadership role with respect to standing up for victims of domestic and sexual violence,” said Michèle Nadeau, acting executive director of YWCA Moncton. “This will make a difference in the lives of women and children in our province.”

The Employment Standards Act provides for minimum standards in the areas of employment such as minimum wage, overtime pay, weekly rest periods, paid public holidays and various leaves, such as maternity, child care, sick, bereavement and compassionate care. Employers and employees may agree to terms and conditions that exceed those minimums. Modernizing employment legislation is intended to ensure that the province keeps pace with the best practices and legislative developments across the country, and adapts to shifting labour force demographics, new work arrangements and the changing needs of employers and employees.

The five other provinces which provide leave for persons experiencing domestic violence are Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Nova Scotia.