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Sask. committed to tabling extended parental leave bill in autumn

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Federal government extended parental leave, giving parents option to take 18 months
Author: 
Martell, Creeden
Publication Date: 
31 May 2018
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The Saskatchewan government is committed to introducing a bill in the fall that would allow for extended parental leave, bringing provincial legislation more in line with the federal government, according to the Minister of Labour Relations.

Letters have been sent out and consultations have begun, Don Morgan said, adding that if and when an extended leave bill is introduced, it may apply to more than just parents.

"We're looking at other leaves for critically ill and also other things as well," he said.

The federal government introduced legislation, which went into effect in December, that gave parents the option to take 18 months of parental leave.

Parents who opted for that option would get more time with their child but not necessarily more money, as 12 months of benefits would be spread out over those 18 months.

Ontario and Alberta have already introduced legislation that aligns the provinces with the federal government, but the Saskatchewan Employment Act still allows a maximum of 37 weeks.

The Opposition NDP, which introduced a private members bill on the matter Wednesday, said it doesn't have to wait until the fall session.

It could pass immediately with support from both sides of the house, according to MLA Nicole Rancourt.

Regardless of whether or not benefits would be stretched over a lengthier period of time, it's about giving families the choice, Rancourt said.

"It would be really easy to be able to put that forward right away," she added. "I don't see why there should be a problem with putting that [bill] forward as soon as possible."

But Morgan said "she knows full well we won't have the chance to do it [immediately]."

The Service Employees International Union-West is one of the organizations that received a letter from the government, and they've been soliciting opinions from union members on employment leave.

On their website, the union said they've been invited to provide a written submission to the labour ministry by June 5 on a potential extended leave bill.

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Entered Date: 
4 Jun 2018
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