Government is making changes to support Nova Scotia parents and their families and victims of domestic violence.
Effective Jan. 1, government is eliminating the eligibility period in the Labour Standards Code to qualify for protected pregnancy and parental leave. People will be able to access pregnancy and parental leave from the moment they are hired.
“Providing support to young families is one building block to a stronger province,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis. “These changes give Nova Scotians access to protected pregnancy and parental leave from the moment they are hired, with no eligibility requirement.”
Under the code, both biological and adoptive parents are eligible for up to 77 weeks of leave.
Also beginning Jan. 1, people who have been in their jobs for at least three months will be entitled to protected leave if they or their child experience domestic violence. This leave allows them time away from work to seek medical attention, obtain victim services or professional counselling, relocate and seek legal or law enforcement assistance.
“While domestic violence can happen in any relationship, we know that women are the predominant victims. This change will help women rebuild their lives – for themselves and their families,” said Kelly Regan, Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
Employees can access up to 16 continuous weeks of domestic violence leave. As well, an employee can take 10 continuous or intermittent days of protected leave. Up to three days of leave is to be paid by the employer.
Government consulted with employers, labour and other stakeholders on both regulatory changes.
“Protecting the security of employment is an important step in addressing some of the complex barriers faced by victims of domestic violence,” said Miia Suokonautio, executive director, YWCA Halifax. “That some of the domestic violence leave is paid increases the likelihood of access by those living in poverty.”
Government has developed an education resource for domestic violence leave. It is available free of charge at lae.velsoftlabs.com .
For more information, visit https://novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights/leaves.asp .
Over the next few years, the provincial government will work with community organizations to build Standing Together, a provincial action plan to prevent domestic violence and improve supports for victims. Information is available at www.novascotia.ca/standingtogether .