MEDIA RELEASE

Irony in Justice?

For immediate release – December 12, 2017

Regina – Members and leaders of SEIU-West are pleased that the government has made amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) to provide for interpersonal violence leave. These amendments will allow access to unpaid leave from work for up to ten days in a period of 52 weeks for survivors of, or family members impacted by, domestic abuse.

“SEIU-West embraces this news knowing that the amendments represent modest progress; although there is more work to be done,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “We stand by the strong principle that those who are survivors of domestic violence should not be persecuted at work, nor should they bear alone the financial consequences of such abuse. Financial stability is the key to their escape from the abusive relationship.”

For over a year now, the SEIU-West Young Workers Committee (YWC) has been pressing government for the passage of Bills (603, 604, and 605) that effectively address the crisis of domestic violence and its connection to the workplace. These Bills would have secured paid leave for survivors of interpersonal violence. The YWC continues to gather support with signatures on their petition which calls for job security – recently updated to stress the importance of paid leave – for survivors of domestic violence (http://bit.ly/2ABThUW).

Saskatchewan holds the highest rates of intimate partner violence in all of Canada’s provinces. Under health and safety provisions of the SEA, it is the employers’ responsibility to ensure safe workplaces.

“We know that the impacts of interpersonal violence affect the workplace,” added Cape. “And we know that many people experiencing domestic violence cannot afford to take unpaid leave. However, government chose not to provide paid leave.”

Justice Minister Don Morgan provided his rationale, “it puts the cost …directly on the employer. The recommendation that came forward from some of the employer groups was this would be a disincentive for an employer to hire a woman.”

“I must say that I share our young workers’ collective sense of shock and outrage at these ridiculous public comments,” continued Cape. “Surely as the Minister of Justice, he must recognize that discrimination in the hiring process should not be condoned. It is alarming when our elected leaders legitimize these discriminatory remarks without any recognition or attention to the value of our legal rights.”

SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. They are joined by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Purple works in our communities! Visit www.PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about the members of SEIU-West.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 8733

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