Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
is pitching a range of workplace changes at employees that appeal to a desire for better work-life balance.
In campaigning last week, Trudeau promised that, if elected, his government would make it easier for many workers with more ‘flexible’ workplaces.
Firstly, Trudeau said he would make it easier for employees covered by federal labour law to gain flexibility in the way they access parental leave.
In one option, Trudeau said new parents may be able to access benefits in portions over 18 months, meaning they could return and go on leave again.
A second option could see parents take a longer leave of up to 18 months in total, though they would do this at a lower benefit level during the period.
Trudeau is also championing more flexible workplaces in general, saying that the way Canadians live and work has changed, requiring new policies.
If elected, he says eligible employees will have the legal right to ask bosses for changes in start and finish times, or if they can work from home.
The employees would then be entitled to a formal written response from a boss, who would be able to accept or deny the requests based on workplace needs.
Trudeau has said a similar plan in the UK resulted in about 80 per cent of requests from employees for changes in work hours being granted.
To enshrine the changes, amendments would need to be made to the Canada Labour Code, while the government would have to work in tandem with provincial and territorial government to get them to accept legal changes.
In addition, Trudeau is also promising to lower the government’s eligibility requirements for Canadians that need to be able to care for a sick loved one.
The would-be national leader has flagged the investment of $190m to boost the compassionate care benefit and make it more available to employees.
Under a Liberal government, Trudeau has said the six-month benefit could be claimed incrementally over a one-year period, rather than all at once.
Trudeau has assured workers that the ramped up initiative would not have the effect of Canadians having to pay higher employment insurance premiums.