December 06, 2017

Government Creates Interpersonal Violence Leave

New Legislation Will Support Survivors of Interpersonal Violence 

Over the last year, the Ministries of Justice, Social Services and Labour Relations and Workplace Safety have engaged in consultations to determine what supports are needed to combat the issue of interpersonal violence in Saskatchewan.

The result is a job protected leave that can be taken immediately after the legislation receives Royal Asset, which is expected on December 7, 2017.

The Saskatchewan Employment (Interpersonal Violence Leave) Amendment Act, 2017, provides survivors of interpersonal violence with 10 days of unpaid leave to access services or to relocate.

“We know that Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of police-reported interpersonal violence across Canada,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said.  “As government and other agencies work toward long-term solutions for this issue, survivors need immediate supports to escape dangerous situations.”

To be eligible, an employee, employee’s child or a person for whom an employee is a caregiver must be the victim of interpersonal violence and the employee requires time off work to:

  • Seek medical attention;
  • Obtain services from a victims services organization;
  • Obtain psychological or other professional services;
  • Relocate, either temporarily or permanently; or
  • Seek legal or law enforcement assistance and attend court appearances.

The 10 days of leave can be taken in shorter blocks of a few hours or a few days as needed.  As a result, only the time away from work would be considered leave time.

Employees must have worked for an employer for a minimum of 13 weeks and will be required to provide evidence of the services being received if asked for in order to qualify for the leave.  The amendment also requires employers to keep personal information confidential.

“This legislation is part of a larger effort by government to address the issue of interpersonal violence in Saskatchewan,” Morgan said.  ”We recognize that interpersonal violence is a serious problem for Saskatchewan families.  In addition to this legislation, we need to see a shift in attitudes about acceptable behavior and we need to develop measures to identify and prevent abusive relationships.

“Government will continue to work with our partners in the communities to develop long-term solutions.  As a first step, the province will be working with other jurisdictions to seek agreement from the federal government to extend employment insurance benefits for survivors of interpersonal violence.”

In addition, the Ministry of Justice is exploring the potential for implementation of a targeted interpersonal violence disclosure process with Saskatchewan police and community organizations.  This approach has been undertaken successfully in the United Kingdom, where it is known as Clare’s Law, and deserves further consideration here in Saskatchewan.