Alberta has published proposed amendments to the province’s employment standards code and labour relations code that would support family-friendly workplaces and bring the province’s standards into alignment with the rest of Canada.

If passed, the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplace Act, which is the first major overhaul of Alberta’s workplace rules in almost 30 years, would extend maternity leave by one week to 16 weeks, extend parental leave from 37 weeks to 52 weeks, and extend compassionate care leave from eight weeks to 27 weeks.

Read: Alberta expected to introduce new workplace legislation next week

Labour Minister Christina Gray said the changes will modernize laws and bring them in line with most other provinces. “Modern and balanced workplace laws protect the rights of Albertans, support their families and help businesses stay competitive.

“Updates and improvements to Alberta’s labour legislation are long overdue. The proposed changes ensure Albertans have the same rights as other Canadians while also supporting a strong economy. They respect the important balance of our labour relations system and will make our standards more family friendly.”

The legislation also proposes guaranteed job protection for new unpaid leaves, including:

  • Long-term illness and injury leave (16 weeks);
  • Personal and family responsibility leave (five days);
  • Bereavement leave (three days);
  • Domestic violence leave (10 days); and
  • Critical illness of a child leave (36 weeks).

Read: Facebook HR changes inspire Toronto company to reconsider leave policies

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said his party supports parts of the bill that relate to protecting employees from being fired for taking unpaid leave for a sick day, looking after a sick relative, caring for a baby, attending a citizenship ceremony or taking time off as a victim of domestic violence.

“Wildrose is sincere in updating employment standards in the province to protect those on compassionate leave, and want to work with the government to have them pass as quickly as possible,” he said in a statement. “It’s our hope that the NDP government will recognize that these compassionate care components are separate and distinct from the labour code changes that require greater consultation, and will split the legislation into two.

Conservative Leader Jason Kenney called the bill an attack on workplace democracy.

The proposed changes follow Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review, which was published on Tuesday after the province consulted with employees, employers and unions for two years on a wide range of work-related issue.

Read: Ontario urged to consider minimum standard for health benefits

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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