While victims of domestic violence in Saskatchewan are entitled to up to 10 days off work, whether or not these extra days should be paid is stirring debate across the province.
The government this week introduced a measure to provide for these days off; it passed in a single day, CBC
The justice minister, Don Morgan, said he did not agree with employer groups’ opinion that paying these leaves may provide a disincentive for companies to hire a woman.
Nicole Sarauer, interim leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, said paid days are “incredibly necessary – they need that money.”
The leave is supposed to be used to get medical attention, go to court or move.
"It's something we've been advocating for so I'm glad to see the government putting this into place," said Crystal Giesbrecht of the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS).
Just a few hours off work, without the risk of losing their job, help many victims of domestic violence in their situation.
"If someone loses the job because of the intimate partner violence then they might be more isolated and there is far less chance that they will be able to leave," she said.
The ability to keep their jobs not only gives them financial security; it also breaks the isolation and gives them a chance to contact services,
But unlike some employers, Giesbrecht does not think legislation will affect hiring decisions.
"When we know that the cost in Canada to employers due to intimate partner violence is over $88 million a year, giving these leaves is going to be just a fraction of that,” she added.
Employees should have worked for at least 13 weeks to be eligible for the paid leave. They will be required to provide evidence of the services they receive.
The law also requires employers to keep all personal information confidential.
Toward the future, the government is mulling a program that would allow a person to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence.
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