Employers must accommodate childcare requests

Employers who once believed family matters have no business in the workplace will have to start rethinking their position if they hope to stay on the right side of Canada’s evolving employment laws, experts suggested Tuesday.

A landmark federal court decision that states workplaces are obliged to accommodate reasonable childcare-related requests from their employees signals significant changes ahead for the country’s employment law landscape, lawyers said.

The decision handed down by Justice Leonard Mandamin explicitly states that requests for childcare accommodations stem from genuine need and are not simply the product of lifestyle choices.

Mandamin’s ruling was made in the context of parents grappling with irregular shift work, but experts suggest the ruling could pave the way for much more broad-based discussion on the role family life plays in the workplace.