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Opposing additional employment leaves in Saskatchewan

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 A recent CFIB survey found 89 per cent of small businesses already offer their employees flexibility to accommodate personal issues. That’s why we are opposing calls to change legislation to provide additional employment leaves for victims of interpersonal violence.

Issue:

  • April 13, 2017: The Government of Saskatchewan passed Bill 67, The Victims of Interpersonal Violence Amendment Act 2017, which enables a tenant to end a fixed-term rental agreement with 28 days’ notice if they or a family member is being abused by another resident or a former resident. Following the coming into force of this Act, the government established an inter-ministerial working group to identify those supports that are already provided by employers, and whether there is a need for other supports to assist victims of domestic and interpersonal violence transition from these relationships and whether changes to legislation would be required as a result.
  • May 11, 2017: The Saskatchewan Domestic Violence Death Review Interim Report was released and identified that Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of police-reported interpersonal and domestic violence across the country. There have been suggestions that additional employment leaves would be of benefit to workers in these situations.
  • June 21, 2017: As a result, the Ministry of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety released a consultation paper – Consultation on Interpersonal Violence and Employment Leaves to solicit feedback from stakeholders in identifying what supports are already provided by employers, and whether there is a need for other supports to assist victims of interpersonal violence transition from these relationships. Deadline for feedback is August 4, 2017.

 

Action:

  • August 4, 2017: CFIB submitted our members’ feedback on the issue and made the  following key points

 

Current employment leaves are sufficient:

We agree that violence under any circumstance is completely unjustifiable. However, CFIB is concerned specifically with the suggestions that additional employment leaves should be granted to workers in these situations.

Business owners already have multiple statutory leave options available to assist their employees whenever necessary. The Saskatchewan Employment Act provides for at least 11 types of leaves.

No compelling evidence presented showing employers are not accommodating employees in these situations:

We also raised our concerns that there has not been any compelling evidence presented showing that employers are not accommodating their employees who may be experiencing interpersonal violence. For these reasons, CFIB believes no legislative changes should be considered.

Small businesses already accommodate employees who need time off for personal situations:  

We know you care about the health and well-being of your staff and realize the people you employ are your most valuable resource, and that a safe employee is also a productive employee. In virtually every small business across Saskatchewan, the employer often works alongside their employees every day, and consequently, the nature of working relationships tend to be more flexible, both for the employer and for the employee.               

We know the majority of small businesses already try to accommodate employees who need time off for personal situations. In fact, when CFIB surveyed Saskatchewan business owners, 89 per cent of respondents indicated that they offer their employees flexibility to accommodate personal issues (see Figure 1).

Chart

 

Recommendation: Given there is ample job protection already provided in The Saskatchewan Employment Act for at least 11 types of leaves, CFIB does not support any changes to legislation to provide additional employment leaves for victims of interpersonal violence. Instead, we encourage the provincial government to focus on educating employers what current provisions are available to assist their employees experiencing interpersonal violence, and highlight other resources that are available to employers and their employees.

If you have questions about employment leaves or any other issue, please call Business Resources at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected].

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