The Nova Scotia Government has passed a new bill which amends the Labour Standards Code to create new unpaid leaves for parents and guardians. The Support for Parents of Critically Ill or Abducted Children Act, gives employees the right to take the following unpaid leaves:
- a leave of up to 37 weeks for a parent or guardian to take care of a critically ill child;
- a leave of up to 52 weeks for a parent or guardian whose child is missing due to a probable Criminal Code offence; and
- a leave of up to 104 weeks for a parent or guardian whose child has died due to a probable Criminal Code offence.
During debates on Bill 3 in the House of Assembly, the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education indicated that the current right to an unpaid 8-week compassionate care leave under the Labour Standards Code may be too short when a parent or guardian has to cope with a child’s long-term serious illness or injury. He further stated that the 37-week leave is in line with changes to the federal Employment Insurance program which take effect in June. These EI changes will allow parents and guardians to receive up to 35 weeks of EI benefits when they need to take time off from work to care for a child’s critical illness or injury. The new 37-week unpaid leave in the Labour Standards Code would include the 35 weeks of EI benefits and two weeks to take into account the standard waiting period for benefits to commence.
The Support for Parents of Critically Ill or Abducted Children Act received Royal Assent on May 10, 2013, but it has not yet been proclaimed into force. It is not certain when the law will take effect.