Manitoba labour leaders featured in Globe and Mail story on Bill 8

As the first law of its kind in Canada, Bill 8 establishes protection in the form of guaranteed paid job leave for victims of domestic violence who are dealing with the effects of abuse and need to take time off from work.

Winnipeg (17 March 2016) — Manitoba Labour leaders, including Michelle Gawronsky,President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) are getting national headlines for the labour community’s support of Bill 8, The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act (Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Leave for Serious Injury or Illness and Extension of Compassionate Care Leave.

Bill 8 first of its kind in Canada

As the first law of its kind in Canada, Bill 8 establishes protection in the form of guaranteed paid job leave for victims of domestic violence who are dealing with the effects of abuse and need to take time off from work.

The law, which passed third reading on March 3 and received Royal Assent on March 15, will provide victims of domestic abuse with 5 paid days (taken at once, or intermittently, if needed), 5 unpaid days and an additional 17-week unpaid period, if a victim needs to flee their situation and relocate.

MGEU President witnessed lack of support 

In a Globe and Mail article published on March 16, Gawronsky, who is currently attending the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, recounts her own personal experiences when her mother fled with her children from an abusive situation. Her mother, Kathy, a teaching assistant at the time, asked her employer for a few days off so she could file a restraining order and find a safe place to stay with her kids.

“They wouldn’t do it,” she says. “They said she had 48 hours to return to work or they would consider her terminated. And that’s what happened.”

Proposed legislation to provide support for victims fleeing abuse

The new law seeks to provide victims of domestic violence with the support they need when fleeing an abusive situation and to help ensure the stress of losing their job isn’t added to an already incredibly stressful moment in the victim’s life.

“If her employer could just have given her a week to get a few things settled in her life,” said Gawronsky to the Globe and Mail. “You have no money, no shelter. How do you look after these children? The guilt is unbelievable. As a society, we need to be supporting each other.”

And that is precisely the purpose in passing Bill 8.

NUPGE 

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE