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N.S. misses mark on domestic violence leave

March 29, 2018

HALIFAX-Failing to make domestic violence leave paid leave allows a major barrier to remain for Nova Scotia women who need to flee violent homes says Unifor.

“Protected leave is important so women do not lose their jobs for missing work. but we know that economic security is critical when a woman decides to escape a violent situation and today’s legislation misses this critical fact,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.

Amendments to the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code would ensure that victims fleeing a violent partner could miss 16 weeks of work without fear of losing their job.

Employers would also have to allow 10 intermittent days for medical and legal appointments under proposed legislation. Payne called that a good start but says the problem is the leave is unpaid.

“When you are in that situation, scrambling to find a safe home and childcare, the last thing you want to worry about is a paycheck, which is why too many women feel trapped in violent relationships because the option is leave and be homeless,” said Koren Beaman, Unifor Woman's Advocate, MWF Local 1, Halifax Shipyard and survivor of domestic violence.

The province has not ruled out paid leave days in the future. Unifor has worked tirelessly to push for paid domestic violence leave which is now in place with five paid days in Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and the federal government.

Unifor will be part of consultations with New Brunswick which is considering how many leave days should be available.

Unifor is committed to addressing violence against women at the bargaining table and has negotiated to have more than 350 women’s advocates in workplaces across Canada as well as paid domestic violence leave.

For more information, please contact Unifor Atlantic Communications representative Natalie Clancy: Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or (902) 478-9283 (cell)