Legislation > Box 4 – Row 2 > Protecting workers. Supporting Families.

Employment Standards Act amendments

No one should face the loss of their job because they are mourning the death of a child or caring for their terminally ill parent.

Changes to the Employment Standards Act will protect workers who are facing family tragedies and give parents access to extended and more flexible maternity and parental leaves.

New parents will have the option to take a longer unpaid parental leave to care for their new child — up to 18 months of leave for birth parents — without worrying about losing their jobs.

These changes will also allow a mother to start their pregnancy leave, also known as maternity leave, as early as 13 weeks before the expected birth date, up from the current 11 weeks.

Currently, there is no provision in BC for parents to take a leave from work in the event their child under 19 goes missing. These changes will give parents of children who go missing because of a crime access to a new unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 52 weeks.

Parents will also be able to access to up to 104 weeks of leave if one of their children under age 19 dies under any circumstances. The current standard of 3 days of unpaid ‘bereavement’ leave forces many parents to return to work before they are ready.

Further, the amendments to compassionate care leave will more than triple the length of leave, from eight weeks to 27 weeks, available to an employee to care for a family member who is terminally ill.

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