At BWSS, we were happy to respond to the BC provincial government’s request for consultation on the Employment Standards Act to provide paid leave to domestic and sexual violence survivors. On March 3, 2020, the Province of BC announced a new bill for paid leave in sexual and domestic violence cases. This would require employers to allow for up to five non-consecutive days of paid leave, as well as, five non-consecutive days of unpaid leave for full or part-time employees. Currently survivors are entitled to fifteen additional unpaid weeks under a law government passed in 2019.

Though this is a step in the right direction, based on our expertise and consultation with survivors on the matter, we advised that the minimum standard should be ten days paid leave and up to twenty weeks unpaid, job protected leave. Additionally, there should be low barrier documentation requirements from a physician, lawyer, counsellor and/or community based support worker. Employers should also accept all tasks pertinent to safety and recovery as reasonable eligibility for paid leave. And the confidentiality of the survivor should be prioritized and protected. It is unclear if any of these other nuanced recommendations are part of the bill.

Read our report with all of our recommedations here.