If passed, the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would improve Albertans’ access to bereavement and reservist leaves.
To recognize the pain and grief felt by parents who lose an unborn child, Albertans experiencing a miscarriage or stillbirth would be able to take unpaid bereavement leave. In order to make this leave as accessible as possible, eligible employees who would have been a parent – such as biological parents, adoptive parents and surrogates – would be able to take leave.
Reservists serve the country by responding to emergencies such as fires and floods, and serve on international missions. To recognize their contributions and make it easier for them to fulfil their annual training requirements without using other entitlements like vacation, changes in the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would remove the 20-day limit on unpaid military reservist leave for annual training.
“By offering this new job protection, we are supporting Albertans in times of great need. Miscarriage and stillbirth are heartbreaking situations, and we want to make sure people have time to spend with their families and take care of themselves. Reservists do incredible work to protect Canadians and it is essential their contribution be recognized.”
“Albertans are hard-working people and deserve compassion and flexibility whether it’s to grieve a personal loss or to train to protect their fellow citizens. Updates to bereavement and reservist leaves add clarity and flexibility to rules that give Albertans time away from work to attend to personal matters.”
“Losing a child through miscarriage or stillbirth is one of the most devastating experiences a parent-to-be can go through. Allowing them to take the time they need to grieve is an important step towards creating compassionate communities that better support the balance between life and work for families in this province.”
“Allowing individuals time to grieve after a miscarriage, stillbirth or any kind of pregnancy loss is a long overdue change. I’m pleased that the Alberta government is taking this first step in recognizing that individuals and their families deserve time to process and are being allowing job-protected leave during these difficult times.”
“Lifting the 20-day limit on unpaid reservist leave is an important step in recognizing that military training has evolved and often involves longer training periods. By removing this 20-day limit, reservists in Alberta will feel confident that they can serve without sacrificing the jobs that provide for themselves and their families.”
“It’s outstanding and welcome news for Alberta reservists. This greater flexibility allows reservists to pursue their desired career path without having to give up on their dreams of serving their country. Removing the 20-day limit is simply a win-win for Alberta’s reserve force and employers of reservists, as it not only furthers military careers, it also allows for the development of transferable skills that can improve work performance.”
“Reservists have a unique skill set unavailable anywhere else. Trained private soldiers apply valuable leadership skills in a civilian work environment – with an immense emphasis on teamwork in a mission-oriented culture. This is a great benefit to employers.”
Maintaining the status quo at post-secondary institutions
Amendments to the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would also help maintain the status quo at post-secondary institutions by making sure associations maintain the exclusive right to represent their members in collective bargaining negotiations. This includes academic staff, graduate student and post-doctoral fellow associations. Without these changes, these associations’ exclusive right to represent their members would expire on July 1.
These associations have the experience and expertise to represent their members. Continuing to give them the exclusive right to represent their members helps to maintain the status quo and aligns with other parts of the public sector.
“I’m happy to deliver on this important change that many of our faculty associations have been asking for since 2019. These changes demonstrate that Alberta’s government is listening and responsive to feedback.”
- Bereavement leave allows employees who have worked at least 90 days for the same employer to take up to three days of unpaid leave per year when a family member dies, without risk of losing their job. Changes in the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would expand access to this leave to those who experience miscarriage or stillbirth.
- The leave length will remain at three days per calendar year regardless of how many family members an employee may lose in a year.
- Employees are not required to provide any proof of entitlement for the leave but must give their employer as much notice as possible to take the leave.
- Employees may have access to more than three days of bereavement leave or may have paid bereavement leave if that is specified in an employment contract or collective agreement.
- Reservist leave allows employees who have worked at least 12 consecutive weeks for the same employer to take unpaid leave to take part in annual training and Canadian Forces operations.
- Currently, there is a 20-day limit on the amount of time reservists can take for annual training. Military stakeholders have indicated that reservists do not have enough annual training leave to complete their training duties. Changes in the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would remove the 20-day limit.
- Reservists are still able to take reservist leave for the length of time that is necessary to take part in Canadian Forces operations, such as to deal with an emergency or its aftermath within Canada.
- Academic staff associations have had the exclusive right to represent their members in collective bargaining negotiations since 1981, graduate student associations since 2004 and post-doctoral fellow associations since 2017.
- Changes in the Labour Statutes Amendment Act will give these associations the exclusive right to represent their members in collective bargaining negotiations indefinitely.
- If the act passes, changes to bereavement and reservist leave will take effect upon royal assent and changes for post-secondary institutions will take effect on July 1.