Ontario Expanding Job-Protected Leave for Survivors of Domestic or Sexual Violence
Workers Have the Right to Up to 17 Weeks Off, Includes Five Days of Paid Leave
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 1, 2018, 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.
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.
Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change also includes free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- 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.
- Ontario’s new Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment helps build fairer, better workplaces, helping to remove long-standing barriers that have kept women from benefiting equally in Ontario’s economy.
- Employees who have been employed for 13 consecutive weeks with the same employer are entitled to this leave.
“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.”
“No one should have to choose between a paycheck and their safety. Providing paid domestic or sexual violence leave gives survivors peace of mind while they access the supports available to them.”
“Women facing domestic or sexual violence should not have to worry about losing their jobs as they go through a difficult challenge in their lives. Providing paid domestic or sexual violence leave gives survivors in Halton region and across Ontario peace of mind needed to recover. It is the right thing to do.”
“The Women’s Centre of Halton will see directly the positive impact that the Domestic and Sexual Violence Leave will have on those affected by violence. Having a dedicated paid leave will help reduce the financial barriers facing those affected and afford them the time they need to access vital services and begin their healing journey. Our clients here in Halton region will experience the positive impact of this important part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.”