Bill 6, the Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018, was given First Reading in the BC legislature on April 9, 2018.
The proposed changes are summarized in this Ministry of Labour News Release. Highlights are as follows:
- Pregnant employees will be able to start their pregnancy leave as early as 13 weeks before the expected birth date, instead of the current 11 weeks;
- Parental leave will be extended to align with the changes to federal EI maternity and parental benefits, which came into effect in December 2017;
- Birth mothers will be able to take up to 61 consecutive weeks of parental leave immediately after the end of their 17 week pregnancy leave, for a total possible leave of 78 weeks (18 months);
- Partners, non-birth parents or adopting parents will be able to take up to 62 consecutive weeks of parental leave within 78 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption;
- Compassionate care leave for employees who need to care for and support a family member who has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks will be increased from 8 weeks to 27 weeks (again, to align with changes made to federal EI benefits);
- Parents who are grieving the death of a child will be granted a new right to up to 104 weeks of unpaid job protected leave;
- Parents whose child disappears as a result of a crime will be granted a new right to up to 52 weeks of unpaid job protected leave.
The Ministry has indicated that additional amendments to the Employment Standards Act are expected to be introduced in future.