Ontario’s standing committee on finance and economic affairs has passed a number of amendments to a bill aimed at boosting the province’s workplace standards legislation, including two changes concerning leave related to domestic and sexual violence.

If the legislature passes the amendments, Bill 148 will include a new section providing for domestic or sexual violence leave. The amendments, which create standalone provisions for specific purposes related to domestic and sexual violence, state an employee is entitled to up to 10 days and up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave, if the employee or a child experiences or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence. The amendments also state that eligible employees must have worked for an employer for at least 13 consecutive weeks.

Read: Negotiated deal includes domestic violence leave, says Alberta union

Second, the amendments would remove a provision that added domestic or sexual violence to the reasons for which an employer may take personal family leave. However, a person experiencing domestic or sexual violence could still have access to personal emergency leave, if the reasons for taking it apply to the employee’s circumstances.

“Through measures such as 10 personal emergency leave days for everyone and a new separate leave for victims of domestic and sexual violence, we’re giving workers and their families the time and support they need while they deal with tremendously difficult circumstances,” said a statement from the office of Labour Minister Kevin Flynn.

It also noted the bill would extend pregnancy leave for people who suffer late-term miscarriages or stillbirths to 12 weeks from six weeks‎.

The standing committee will refer the bill back to the legislature for second reading. If it passes the amendments, they’ll come into force on Jan. 1, 2018.

In May, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour published a report making 173 recommendations on provincial workplace standards, including the inclusion of domestic violence as a reason for leave.

Read: Ontario urged to consider minimum standard for health benefits

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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