Client Update: Recent Proposed Leaves for Nova Scotia
The Nova Scotia government introduced Bill 29 on September 14, 2018 to increase pregnancy and parental leave to reflect the recent changes by the federal government to Employment Insurance (“EI”). Those EI changes extended employment insurance for maternity and parental leave from a combined 50 weeks to 76 weeks and came into effect on December 3, 2017. The majority of provinces have amended their employment standards to match the federal government’s changes to employment insurance (see chart below).
Consistent with the federal EI changes, Bill 29 reduces pregnancy leave from 17 weeks to 16 weeks (to reflect the now reduced EI waiting period of one week), increases parental leave from 52 weeks to 77 weeks and also increases the maximum combined leave from 52 weeks to 77 weeks. Bill 29 received second reading in the legislature on September 14, 2018. On September 24, 2018 the NDP brought a motion at Law Amendments to reduce the one year employment requirement for pregnancy and parental leave, to 17 weeks. The motion was defeated; Bill 29 was referred back to the Legislature without any amendments.
As can be seen from the chart below, the proposed changes would bring Nova Scotia in line with the majority of Canadian provinces (excluding Quebec):
|Nova Scotia (existing legislation)||17||52||52|
|Nova Scotia (proposed changes)||16||77||77|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||17||61||78|
|Prince Edward Island||17||35||52|
Employers who have policies providing “top-up” for pregnancy and parental leave should ensure that Bill 29 does not overextend their policy beyond the desired effect.
Sick leave and domestic violence leave
Last week, the Nova Scotia NDP introduced two bills which, if enacted, would provide paid days for both sick leave and domestic violence leave, and also remove the right of employers to ask for a doctor’s note.
Currently, s. 60D of the Labour Standards Code (“Code”) provides up to three days unpaid sick leave for employees.
On September 20, 2018 the NDP introduced legislation to amend the Code to provide six paid days and also remove the right of employers to ask for a doctor’s note. The proposed NDP amendment follows in the footsteps of Ontario Bill 148 (passed by the Liberal Government of Ontario) which came into force in January 2018. Bill 148 abolished the employer’s right to ask for a doctor’s note and increased the number of personal emergency leave (i.e. sick leave) to 10 days per year including two paid days. We will continue to monitor the NDP’s proposed amendments.
As for domestic violence leave, on April 17, 2018 the Nova Scotia government passed legislation amending the Code to provide for domestic violence leave. The amendments are awaiting proclamation and will provide 10 intermittent unpaid days and also 16 continuous weeks of unpaid leave. On September 21, 2018 the NDP introduced a bill to provide for the first five days of domestic violence leave to be paid. The Department of Labour and Advanced Education are holding consultations with stakeholders next week on whether to include paid days in domestic violence leave.
Currently, four provinces have proposed amending their legislation to include paid leave for domestic violence and three provinces have legislation in force which provide paid leave. The NDP’s proposal for six sick days of paid leave would place Nova Scotia well above provincial standards:
|Province||Paid days domestic violence (proposed or enacted amendments)||Paid days sick leave (enacted amendments)||Unpaid sick leave (enacted amendments)|
|Nova Scotia (existing legislation)
|Nova Scotia (proposed changes by NDP)
A change from unpaid to paid leave would impose a considerable new cost to Nova Scotia companies. We will continue to monitor the proposed amendments.
This update is intended for general information only. If you have questions about the above information, please contact Guy-Etienne Richard, or another member of our labour and employment group.
John Samms The upcoming federal election is drawing near. You may be thinking about exercising your democratic and constitutional right to vote – you may not be. You may never even consider participating in the…Read More
Twila Reid and Kara Harrington On January 1, 2020, changes to the Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2012 (“Regulations”) will take effect. These changes impact employers in a variety of ways, most…Read More
Peter McLellan, QC In the January 18, 2019 article, Change is the only constant – Bill C-86 changes in federal labour and employment regulation, we outlined in detail massive changes to how federal labour and…Read More
Rick Dunlop and Madeleine Coats The proposed Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations (“Regulations”) will replace the current workplace violence obligations in the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Although the Regulations will likely not…Read More
Hilary Foster Earlier this year, the Prince Edward Island Labour Relations Board (“Board”) issued a decision¹ wherein it certified the Charlottetown Professional Firefighters Association (“Association”) as bargaining agent for: All employees of the City of…Read More
Bryan Mills and John Morse On May 21, 2019, the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board (”Board”) dismissed an application by the New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees (“Union”) seeking certification as bargaining…Read More
Jonathan Coady and Justin Milne The Ontario Court of Appeal has found that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act¹ is valid federal legislation.² The Act implements national minimum pricing standards to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions.…Read More
Richard Niedermayer, TEP, Jennifer Taylor and Bhreagh Ross, summer student There is a right to testamentary freedom under section 7 of the Charter, according to a recent decision of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. In…Read More
John Samms Introduction Much ink has been spilled on the controversial 1969 power contract between Hydro-Quebec and CFLCo (the contract) and last week the Quebec Court of Appeal added to the pile with its decision…Read More
Kevin Landry On June 14, 2019, Health Canada announced the release of the final version of amendments to the Cannabis Regulations, which will permit for the production and sale of edibles, extracts and topicals. The…Read More