Employers in the Northwest Territories should be aware that the amendments to the Employment Standards Act adopted by the Legislative Assembly in August 2019 are now in force as of January 1, 2020.
Changes to the Employment Standards Act include:
- An increase to the length of unpaid parental leave to which an employee is entitled from 37 weeks to 61 weeks;
- An increase to the length of unpaid compassionate care to which an employee is entitled from 8 weeks to 27 weeks;
- The creation of a new family violence leave, which entitles employees to 5 paid and 5 unpaid days of family violence leave per calendar year, and up to 15 unpaid weeks of family violence leave per calendar year;
- The creation of a family caregiver
leave, which entitles employees to up to 37 unpaid weeks of leave
to care for a critically ill child, or up to 17 unpaid weeks of
leave to care for a critically ill adult.
An employee's entitlement to these leaves is subject to a number of criteria, which vary according to the leave. This may include a requirement to be employed by the employer for a prescribed period of time before accessing the leave. Employers should make sure that any employee requesting a particular leave meets the criteria to access that type of leave before approving it.
These amendments follow similar amendments made to the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act over the past two years. They do not affect employers who fall under federal jurisdictions, such as First Nations; however, these employers should ensure that they remain compliant with the Canada Labour Code, as substantial amendments came into force in 2019.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.