Bill to make Alberta workplaces healthier, says Government of Alberta

Government of Alberta
News release
The proposed Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act would help reduce workplace illnesses by giving Albertans unpaid, job-protected sick days.
Job-protected, unpaid sick days help prevent ill workers from spreading infections to others.

If passed, the bill would allow Alberta workers up to five days of job protection a year for personal sickness or short-term care of an immediate family member.

It would also allow for 16 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for long-term illness or injury.

“A guarantee of job-protected, unpaid sick days would give workers time to get healthy and it would keep employers from worrying about ill workers spreading infectious bugs to others because they are afraid to take a sick day off. These proposed changes would make life better for workers and employers.”
– Christina Gray, Minister of Labour.

“In my practice, I often hear that patients are concerned to take time off work for illness due to concern that they will lose their jobs. This has been worse over the past year with the economic downturn here in Alberta. The proposed government policy to ensure job security for those employees who are sick or unwell is an important social support initiative.”
– Dr. Doug Klein, Edmonton family physician.

“For the most part, the patients I see have support from their employers when advised to take medical sick leave. However, there is a small minority of Albertans who fear taking sick leave will cost them their jobs. These proposed changes would improve the overall health of Albertans and protect our work force.”
– Dr. David Ryan, St. Albert family physician.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve seen too many hard-working Albertans juggle work and family responsibilities while battling a chronic illness. This balancing act comes at the detriment of the patient. Long-term job-protected sick leave will help Albertans focus on recovery and battling illness.”
– Dr. Raquel Feroe, medical specialist.

Alberta has some of the oldest workplace legislation in Canada.

Both the Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code have not been significantly updated in nearly 30 years.

Quick facts
. Most Canadians have job-protected sick leave except for residents in Alberta, British Columbia and Nunavut.
. Ontario residents have 10 days for personal and family sickness.
. Saskatchewan and Yukon residents have 12 days.
. Newfoundland and Labrador residents have seven days.
. Northwest Territories residents have five days.

The proposed Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code changes are the result of previous government reviews, as well as broad consultation with Albertans, employers, business organizations, labour organizations, municipalities, academics and advocacy groups. More than 7,000 submissions were received.

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