FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is proposing amendments to the Employment Standards Act that would allow for domestic or intimate partner violence leave, as well as provide job protection for people who leave work to care for a family member.

“It is essential that New Brunswick’s employment standards legislation be continually modernized to maintain a competitive labour market and keep up with the needs of employers and employees,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage. “Introducing leave provisions for persons experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence would align the province with Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, while updating unpaid leave protections in the Employment Standards Act would reflect recent changes to the federal government’s Employment Insurance Act.”

“I am pleased that the provincial government will add intimate partner violence as a designated leave under the Employment Standards Act,” said New Brunswick Federation of Labour president Patrick Colford. “Our organization looks forward to participating in this consultation process to define what this leave will look like.”

Leave provisions for people experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence would allow a leave of absence to, among other things, seek medical attention, obtain support services, relocate temporarily or permanently, and seek legal or law enforcement assistance.

Changes to the federal Employment Insurance Act took effect on Dec. 3, 2017, and include enhanced maternity and parental benefits, as well as additional support and more flexibility for employment insurance-eligible caregivers who leave work to care for a family member. More information on these changes is available online.

The government will consult with stakeholders in the coming weeks to receive feedback and recommendations on the proposed amendments.