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What we know & don't know about PEI's new domestic & sexual violence leave

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In less than 48 hours, a private members' bill was tabled and unanimously passed by all parties that would require businesses in PEI to provide up to three paid and seven unpaid days of leave for victims of domestic violence, intimate violence, or sexual violence every 12 months.

Here's what we know and don't know about how this legislation will impact your business.

When will these changes become effective?

We don't yet know.

Legislation is expected to pass in the Spring legislative session but regulations still need to be drafted.  These provisions cannot be implemented until regulations are developed.

Who will be covered by this leave?

Any employee covered by the Employment Standards Act will have access to these leave provisions once implemented.

At this point, there are no definitions in legislation for "domestic violence," "intimate partner violence," or "sexual violence" or indications of when an employee will be eligible for those leaves.  These definitions will need to be clarified in regulation or in amendments to the legislation.

How will leave be taken?

According to legislation, an employee would be able to take this leave on either consecutive or non-consecutive days (i.e. all at once or as individual days).  

Eligibility would be renewed every 12 months.

Given the lack of clarity that currently exists, we will be working very closely with government to ensure that small business owners will have clear, easy-to-understand obligations.

According to the Regulatory Accountability and Reporting Act and Premiers' Charter of Governing Principles of Regulation, government should also be conducting an impact assessment of these changes and the offsetting measures should be introduced for businesses.

If you have concerns about these changes, please reach out to us at 1-888-234-2232 or [email protected] and contact your MLA.  We will ensure that these concerns are taken into account when regulations are being drafted.