Strengthening Supports for Victims of Domestic Violence

Government is proposing amendments to the Labour Standards Code to better support victims of domestic violence.

The amendments introduced on March 29, set a minimum standard for employers to provide employee leave of up to 16 continuous weeks and 10 intermittent or continuous days for victims of domestic violence.

“As long as domestic violence continues to be part of our society, we need to ensure victims have access to the supports they need, when they need it,” said Labi Kousoulis, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “This new leave will allow victims time to seek out services and supports for themselves and their children, without the added stress of losing their job.”

Government has consulted stakeholders over the past year on the amendments introduced in the legislation.

This leave will allow victims to:
— seek medical attention
— obtain services from a victim services organization, psychological or other professional counseling
— relocate temporarily or permanently
— seek legal or law enforcement assistance

In addition, the legislation allows leave for an employee to seek medical attention, obtain victim services or professional counseling, relocate and seek legal or law enforcement assistance, in situations where the employee’s child is a victim of domestic violence.

A general confidentiality provision will ensure an employer keeps all employee information private.

“These changes are an important first step in addressing domestic violence in Nova Scotia,” said Miia Suokonautio, executive director, YWCA Halifax. “This employee leave will provide protection to those dealing with the complex situation of domestic violence. Job protection while on domestic violence leave is critical for victims to move forward with their lives. We look forward to working with all orders of government as well as employers to ensure true economic stability for victims.”