A Saskatchewan employee is now entitled to a protected leave of up to 10 days per year if the employee, his or her child, or a person for whom the employee is a caregiver is a victim of interpersonal violence. This unpaid leave is not required to be continuous.

The provincial government has passed a fast-tracked bill to introduce changes to The Saskatchewan Employment Act. Under the amendments, employees who have been employed for at least 13 consecutive weeks will be permitted absences if they relocate or access services such as medical, counseling or legal to cope with interpersonal (domestic) violence.

Employees may be asked to provide the employer with evidence in support of leave requests – such as an emergency intervention order, restraining order, peace bond or other court order, or a statement from a professional such as a social worker, medical professional or designated person from a support agency.

As one might expect, the changes to The Saskatchewan Employment Act involve provisions directed at maintaining strict confidentiality and privacy over the information and records provided by employees seeking leave to their employers.

These legislative changes follow amendments made late last year to compassionate care leave, which increased leave entitlements from eight weeks to 28 weeks for eligible employees in Saskatchewan.

For employers, adjusting for these changes may involve updating workplace policies and procedures, including reviewing confidentiality and privacy safeguards in the workplace and communicating updates to team members.