New And Extended Leaves To Further Help Expecting Parents

The Employment Standards Act has been changed to suit the realities of becoming a new parent and will now help better support working families by extending parental/maternity leave.  If the legislature approves the amendments put forward by Minister of Labour, Harry Bains, families in Revelstoke and B.C. that are expecting could see the benefits.

As of right now an expecting mother can begin her maternity leave 11 weeks prior to the expected date of birth, the proposal is to jump that to 13 weeks giving Mom more time before the birth, especially if there is a solid medical reason to take an early leave. Another addition in the proposal is new parents will now have the option of taking a longer parental leave to care for their new child, however this will come at a slight cost as it would be unpaid leave. This could result in a total of 18 months of leave for birth mothers all the while ensuring job protection. These possible changes align with B.C.’s leave provisions with federal employment insurance (ei) benefits.

While no parent ever wants to consider the worst case scenario, the Federal Government has. Reality is parents do face hardship with their children if they are diagnosed with a harsh illness or they are missing as a result of a crime. The current government is looking to create an unpaid, job-protected leave up to 52 weeks to help if a worker’s child is missing. Currently, there is no provision for parents to take a leave from work in the event of a missing child.

Tragedies can happen and the loss of a child is one of the worst stations a family can endure. In the event of a death of a child 19 years and under, the leave will be up to 104 unpaid weeks; a significant addition to the three days of unpaid “bereavement leave”.

For those that have dedicated their time to caring for a family member in need of support and assistance, the amendments to compassionate care leave will more than triple from eight weeks-27 weeks. This will be available to an employee who must care for a terminally ill family member.

These potential changes are designed to the standards of these special work absences are better than those offered in other jurisdictions in Canada. British Columbians will be able to access full EI maternity, parental and compassionate care benefits without the fear of losing their job.

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