Interpersonal Violence Leave Now Provided in Manitoba

On December 5, 2019, the Manitoba Legislative Assembly passed all stages of Bill No. 7, The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act (Leave for Victims of Interpersonal Violence), subsequently the “Act”. On the same date, the bill received Royal Assent and it is now in force.

The Act amends The Employment Standards Code (Manitoba), or the “Code”, to broaden its current regime for domestic violence leave to include victims of sexual violence and stalking. The Act replaces the Code’s “Domestic Violence Leave” with “Interpersonal Violence Leave”.

Three forms of violence are now covered under the Code’s interpersonal violence leave:

  • domestic violence;
  • sexual violence; and
  • stalking.

This amendment brings Manitoba into alignment with the interpersonal violence leave provisions found in employment standards legislation in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Entitlement and Length of Leave

An eligible employee who is a victim of interpersonal violence or whose dependant is a victim of interpersonal violence may take interpersonal violence leave to:

  • seek medical attention for physical or psychological injury;
  • obtain victims services;
  • relocate temporarily or permanently;
  • seek legal or law enforcement assistance;
  • assist a dependant who has been a victim of interpersonal violence to do any of the above; or
  • for any other prescribed purpose.

In order to be eligible for interpersonal violence leave, the employee must have worked for the same employer for at least 90 days. The employee must give their employer as much notice as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.

An eligible employee is entitled to two periods of leave within each 52-week period of employment:

  • up to ten days leave to be taken intermittently or in one continuous period; and
  • up to 17 weeks leave to be taken in one continuous period.

Paid Leave

Eligible employees are entitled to be paid for five of the days taken for interpersonal violence leave within a 52-week period – any days taken over and above the five paid days are unpaid. The amount that an employer must pay an employee for a paid day of interpersonal violence leave must be not less than:

  • the wage the employee would have been paid had they worked regular hours on the first day of the leave; or
  • 5% of the employee’s total wages, not including overtime, in the four weeks preceding the first day of the leave if:
    • the number of hours worked by the employee in a normal workday varies from day to day; or
    • the employee’s wage for regular hours of work varies from day to day.

An employer who provides other paid leave benefits that are greater than the minimum required by the Code may require that an employee use those benefits for paid interpersonal leave days.

Verification

An employee who takes paid leave must provide the employer with reasonable verification substantiating the necessity of the leave. The employee may be required to supply the employer with same during unpaid leave.

Application to Dependants

A dependant is defined as a child of the employee or a dependent person who is otherwise under the care and control of the employee. Pursuant to the Code, a child is also considered to be a victim of interpersonal violence if they have been directly or indirectly exposed to interpersonal violence experienced by a family member.

Have questions? Our team of labour and employment lawyers can help your organization adapt to this recent amendment to The Employment Standards Code (Manitoba).

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.