There are important proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act that comes with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Although media attention has been focused on the $15/hour minimum wage increase (effective January 1, 2019), some proposed changes would assist injured persons and their families in coping with all the stressors of disability. These proposed changes will be effective January 1, 2018, if Bill 148 is in fact passed.
In regards to Personal Emergency Leave, all employees will be entitled to ten days per year, regardless of the size of the employer. The first two days of the leave must be paid and employees must have worked for a minimum of one week before becoming entitled to the two paid days. It is worth noting that employers may require evidence of entitlement to these days, but cannot require a doctor’s note.
When it comes to Leaves of Absence, employees will be able to take a family medical leave for up to 27 weeks in a 52 week period. In the unfortunate scenario in which the employee’s child dies or there is a crime-related child disappearance, employees will be able to take an unpaid leave of up to two years. Additionally, employees will be entitled to a leave for domestic or sexual violence. As such, employees who have been employed for at least 13 consecutive weeks are entitled to an unpaid leave of absence when that employee, or the employee’s child, experiences domestic or sexual violence, or the threat of sexual or domestic violence.
Bill 148 passed its second reading on October 18, 2017 and on October 26, 2017, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (Committee) announced that it intends to hold another round of public hearings in Toronto with respect to Bill 148.