Province: British Columbia
Changes in compliance are continuous and are occurring around the globe. At Replicon, our goal is to make sure you’re never a step behind. Recently, there have been some key developments affecting labour & employment implemented in British Columbia, Canada. The Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018 (‘Bill 6’) resulted in a number of changes, including new and extended maternity, parental and compassionate care leave. On May 17, 2018, Bill 6’s changes went into effect. Read on as we cover some of the notable changes in detail.
A minimum wage rate increase went into effect on June 1, 2018. British Columbia’s minimum wage rate increased from $11.35 to $12.65 per hour.
Bill 6 allows expecting mothers to commence pregnancy leave as early as 13 weeks prior to the expected birth date (instead of the current provision of 11 weeks). In addition, the amendment increases the maternity leave entitlement for an employee who requests leave after giving birth to a child from 6 weeks to 17 weeks. Hence, employees will be eligible with job protection for an 18- month period of pregnancy/parental leave in total. Currently the Employment Standards Act only provides job protection for a total of 52 weeks of pregnancy/parental leave.
Transitional Provisions. For maternity leave, the effect of the transition rules is that employees who are already on leave, who have previously provided notice to go on leave, and those who provide notice in the future will all be entitled to the increased leave.
Bill 6 entitles new mothers to begin up to 61 additional consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave immediately after their pregnancy leave. Non-birth parents and adopting parents are also be entitled to up to 62 consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave, which must begin within 78 weeks after the birth of the child or after the child is placed with the parent (in the case of adoption). This represents an increase from the prior entitlement of 37 consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave.
Transitional Provisions. For parental leave, the entitlement to the increased leave depends on whether the employee’s child was born or placed with the adopting employee on or after December 3, 2017.
Compassionate care leave, which is available to employees who must care for a family member who is terminally ill and has a significant risk of death within 6 months, increased to 27 weeks (previously 8 weeks).
Transitional Provisions. For compassionate care leave, the increased entitlement is available not only to those who have given notice of the leave or who are already on leave but also to those whose leave commenced within 52 weeks prior to the date the amendments come into effect.
Bill 6 also provided for new unpaid leaves.
Disappearance of Child. Bill 6 provides for unpaid leave to be given during the disappearance of child is a new statutorily-protected leave. It provides a parent with up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave, whose child (under 19 years of age) disappears as a result of crime This leave is not available for employees who are charged (but not necessarily convicted) with a crime that resulted in the disappearance of their child. The leave must be taken consecutively, though it may be taken intermittently with the employer’s consent. The unpaid leave may end earlier on the date when the child is found dead; the date on which the circumstances indicate it is no longer probable that the child’s disappearance is a result of crime; or 14 days after the child is found alive.
Death of a Child. Bill 6 introduced a new provision specifically dealing with the death of a child and allows an employee to take up to 104 weeks (2 years) of unpaid leave following the death of a child (under 19 years of age). Currently, the general bereavement leave entitles an employee may take up to 3 days of unpaid leave on the death of an immediate family member, including a child.