Ontario expanding job-protected leave for survivors of domestic or sexual violence

Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour

Ontario is creating safer workplaces with a new, job-protected paid leave of absence when a worker or their child experiences or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence.

As of January 1st, a worker has the right to take up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job. Ten days of that leave may be taken a day at a time for things like medical appointments, and an employee may also take up to 15 weeks intermittently for reasons that require more time, such as making moving arrangements. The first five days of leave in each calendar year would be paid, the rest would be unpaid and job-protected.

“When domestic or sexual violence occurs, the last thing victims and their families need is to worry about whether they can take time off work. When someone or their child is a victim of such a tragic episode, they must have the time to get the help they need,” said Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour.

The leave is part of Ontario’s plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs, which includes increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, enabling at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.

Quick facts:

  • The Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave is additional to any entitlement to leave under the Employment Standards Act, including Family Medical Leave, Family Caregiver Leave and Critical Illness Leave, Child Death Leave, Crime-Related Child Disappearance Leave, and Personal Emergency Leave.
  • Ontario has launched a Gender-Based Violence Strategy to help survivors get the support they need and to help prevent violence by intervening early.
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