Home Workplace News Paid leave for pregnancy loss, new protections for gig workers among changes for federally regulated workers

Paid leave for pregnancy loss, new protections for gig workers among changes for federally regulated workers

by HR News Canada

Ottawa has enacted new legislative measures aimed at enhancing protections for federally regulated employees, including gig workers, and improving work-life balance.

Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. announced that these changes to the Canada Labour Code received royal assent on June 20, 2024.

The amendments address several key areas, including protections for gig workers, the implementation of right-to-disconnect policies, and new leave entitlements for employees. The changes are designed to ensure fair treatment and improved working conditions across various industries, according to a press release from Employment and Social Development Canada.

Gig workers’ rights bolstered

One of the significant changes is the strengthened prohibition against the misclassification of gig workers. The new legislation presumes that gig workers are employees unless proven otherwise. This shift aims to ensure gig workers receive the same rights, protections, and entitlements as other employees under the Canada Labour Code.

“This legislation is about making life better for workers,” said O’Regan. “Right to disconnect. Parental leave. Banning worker misclassification. So every worker can be at their best.”

New leave entitlements introduced

The amendments also introduce a three-day paid leave for employees who experience a pregnancy loss. This provision acknowledges the challenges faced by individuals during such difficult times and provides necessary support for recovery.

Additionally, a new 16-week unpaid leave has been established for parents welcoming children through adoption or surrogacy. This leave ensures job protection for parents while they access the corresponding Employment Insurance benefit, once fully implemented.

“We are listening to Canadians and making changes to better reflect family life in Canada today,” said Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages Randy Boissonnault. “All parents deserve time to welcome their children home, and all children benefit from that time.”

Right-to-disconnect policies required

To further support work-life balance, employers will be mandated to establish right-to-disconnect policies. These policies will limit work-related communication outside of scheduled working hours, ensuring clear employer expectations and better protection for employees’ work-life balance.

Employers will also be required to consult with employees or unions when developing these policies and to review and update them every three years.

Impact on federally regulated industries

These legislative changes will affect more than one million employees across 19,150 federally regulated employers, including industries such as transportation, banking, and postal services. While protections for gig workers take effect immediately, other changes will be implemented next year to provide employers ample time to prepare.

The federal government estimates that around 41,000 gig workers operate in federally regulated industries, encompassing roles such as truck drivers, couriers, and freelancers. The new protections aim to ensure these workers are no longer denied the rights and entitlements they deserve, it said.

The measures introduced in the Budget Implementation Act, 2024, and the fall economic statement reflect the government’s commitment to supporting Canadian workers and adapting to evolving workplace dynamics.

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