Province Introduces Legislation To Extend Parental Leave Provisions

The Manitoba government is introducing legislation that would extend parental leave provisions and leave for individuals to care for a critically ill adult family member, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today. 

“We know that raising a family is one of life’s most rewarding challenges,” said Pedersen.  “We are pleased to introduce measures to provide additional flexibility for parents to care for their children, and make it easier for families to care for loved ones who are critically ill.”   

The minister noted the proposed legislation would make several changes to the Employment Standards Code, including:

  • extending parental leave from 37 weeks to 63 weeks to care for a new child in the family;
  • establishing a new 17-week leave to allow employees to care for an adult family member who is critically ill; 
  • raising the minimum age for employment from 12 to 13, to bring it in line with the United Nations’ International Labour Organization Minimum Age Convention 138, which came into force in Canada in June 2017 with unanimous support from all provinces and territories;
  • eliminating the requirement for employers to obtain a permit before employing someone under the age of 16, instead requiring employers to ensure a young person between the ages of 13 and 16 has a certificate verifying they have completed an approved work readiness course online;
  • introducing a new process to allow an employer and an employee or group of employees to enter into an agreement on averaging hours of work, without requiring approval from the director of employment standards;
  • authorizing the director of employment standards to refuse frivolous or vexatious complaints; and 
  • clarifying unionized employees would no longer have the ability to file a complaint with the director of employment standards since collective agreements include grievance processes for handling disputes between employers and employees about wages or other terms of employment.

“These additional measures include red tape reduction initiatives and opportunities to modernize departmental functions,” said Pedersen.  “From day one, our government has worked to repair the services we are entrusted to provide and ensure the regulatory system is fair, accountable and responsive to the needs of Manitobans today and into the future.”

The coming into force date for changes to protected leaves is set at royal assent, while the remaining proposed changes would take effect upon proclamation. 

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