The Saskatchewan Employment Act (the “SEA”) has been in effect since 2014. This legislation sets out various employment standards requirements in our province and establishes the minimum obligations that must be met by employers.
One of the subjects addressed in the SEA is that of employment leaves. An employee who has been in an employer’s service for more than 13 consecutive weeks is entitled to employment leave in accordance with the legislation. Among the various types of employment leaves addressed in the legislation is a period of job-protected “interpersonal violence leave”. For purposes of the interpersonal violence leave provisions of the SEA “interpersonal violence” means:
- any intentional or reckless act or omission that causes bodily harm or damage to property;
- any act or threatened act that causes a reasonable fear of bodily harm or damage to property;
- forced confinement;
- sexual abuse;
- harassment; or
- deprivation of necessities.
The interpersonal violence leave entitlement is for a period of up to 10 days in a 52 week period. The employee may take the leave intermittently or in one continuous period. Interpersonal violence leave is an unpaid leave.
The SEA outlines the specific purposes for which interpersonal violence leave may be taken. Where an employee or their child or a person for whom the employee is a caregiver is a victim of interpersonal violence, the employee can request leave from work for any of the following reasons:
- to seek medical attention (for themselves, their child or a person under their care);
- to obtain services from a victims services organization;
- to obtain psychological or other professional counselling;
- to relocate (either temporarily or permanently); or
- to seek legal or law enforcement assistance and attend court.
An employer is entitled to ask the employee to provide evidence of the services being received in order to qualify for this leave.
Employers are also specifically required under the SEA to maintain confidentiality and limit disclosure of information respecting all matters that come to their knowledge in relation to an interpersonal violence leave taken by any of their employees.
Employers in Saskatchewan should familiarize themselves with the interpersonal violence leave provisions in the SEA. Ensure your workplace policies and procedures dealing with employee leaves of absence and your obligations to maintain employee privacy address all legal requirements. Need assistance? Our Employment Law team is here to answer your questions and can also help you in developing or updating your workplace policies and procedures to comply with legislated requirements in this and other areas. Contact us for more information.