The Saskatchewan government is laying the building blocks of extended parental leave. Earlier this year, the federal government introduced rules for 18-month parental leave in Canada. Before these benefits can be claimed they have to be authorized by the province first.
Saskatchewan has not yet made the necessary changes to the Employment Act to allow for the extended leave.
Labour Relations critic Nicole Rancourt introduced new legislation May 30 to bring the extended leave to Saskatchewan. The legislative session concludes May 31, and Rancourt would have liked to see speedy passage.
“It would be really easy to be able to put that forward right away,” Rancourt said. “If both sides of the house agree to it I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a problem putting that forward as soon as possible. Because we don’t want to wait months. Families are going to be impacted.”
Labour Relations Minister Don Morgan said that the government’s plan is to introduce the necessary amendment to the Employment Act in the fall session.
First, Morgan wants to complete a thorough consultation, which he said began “months ago”. In addition to extended parental leave, Morgan said other leaves are being discussed, including leave for critically ill adults.
“We want to do a careful study, but the commitment that we made is we want to introduce a bill in the fall that will certainly deal with the extended mat leave, but may well be other things as well,” Morgan said.