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P.E.I. introduces workplace leave for domestic, intimate partner and sexual violence

“This is going to be very important for employees dealing with domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence,” says Patricia McPhail, Director of Labour and Industrial Relations for the province of P.E.I. - Photo Contributed
“This is going to be very important for employees dealing with domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence,” says Patricia McPhail, Director of Labour and Industrial Relations for the province of P.E.I. - Photo Contributed

If an employee is struggling with violence at home, a new type of workplace leave is going to make it easier for them to take time off to try to improve their situation.

On Nov. 1, Prince Edward Island rolled out domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence leaves that will allow employees to take days off work to access services that can help them.

“This is going to be very important for employees dealing with domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence,” says Patricia McPhail, Director of Labour and Industrial Relations for the province of P.E.I.

She says family violence can happen to anyone and take many forms, including child maltreatment, child abuse and incest, child exposure to family violence, intimate partner violence, spousal violence, woman abuse, family violence, sibling abuse, parent abuse, elder abuse and abuse of older adults.

The leave provides employees with up to three days of paid leave and an additional seven days of unpaid leave, either taken intermittently or in one continuous period. Employees can also take the leave to assist a child under the age of 18, or another person for whom they’re the primary caregiver.

Employees may choose to use their leave for a number of different reasons relating to domestic violence, intimate partner violence or sexual violence, such as seeking medical attention, obtaining counseling, relocating, seeking legal or law enforcement assistance or complying with child protection interventions.

To access the leave, the employee must be employed for at least three continuous months.

Employers may request supporting information from the employee seeking the leave — such as a note from a social worker, psychologist, doctor or nurse — and the employee must cooperate in obtaining the written evidence. But McPhail says employers are required to respect the employee’s confidentiality on all matters related to the leave.

To learn more about the domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence leave or to access educational materials, please visit peiemploymentstandards.com.

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