Human Resources, Labour and Employment
April 22, 2008
Province Introduces Amendments to Support Job Protection for Military Reservists
The Williams Government is moving forward with a Blueprint 2007 commitment in support of job protection for military reservists in the province.Currently before the House of Assembly, Bill No. 1 contains amendments to The Labour Standards Act to provide for unpaid leave for Reservists. The amendments strike a balance between employee and employer rights and responsibilities while fully supporting the national interest.
"Our government strongly believes that women and men in uniform should not have to place their domestic job and livelihood in jeopardy when risking their lives in the service of our country," said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. "The job protection provisions for military reservists reflect our commitment to ensure that those serving our country can perform their military duty with honour and dignity and without the added concern of employment when they return home. Newfoundland and Labrador has a proud and strong tradition of military service and our government will continue to proudly support these courageous and selfless individuals."
The amendments include provisions to provide job protection for military reservists who volunteer and are deployed, or are training for deployment, for foreign or domestic operations. Reservists will also be eligible for leave to receive any necessary treatment or rehabilitation resulting from deployment. Reservists designated as providing Class "C" Reserve Service as described in the Queen’s Regulations and Order for the Canadian Forces of the National Defense Act will be eligible.
"I am quite pleased to see these important legislative amendments brought forward to be debated in the House of Assembly and I look forward to the support of my honourable colleagues," said the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. "It provides a greater level of assurance for military reservists and their families that the personal sacrifice they make in support of our freedom is not forgotten or diminished upon their return home."
Under the proposed amendments,employed reservists are required to give their employer written notice of their request 60 days prior to deployment, and to advise when they will start and end their service and of any further changes to the end date that may arise from the deployment.
In recognition of the needs of employers, provision is made for a right to refuse the leave request in those circumstances where it can be demonstrated that the leave will result in undue hardship that jeopardizes the employer’s ability to continue to function. When leave is disputed on this point, the matter can proceed to an adjudicative process.
Consistent with existing leave provisions contained in Section 43.7 of the Labour Standards Act, the contract of employment at the time the leave began is protected. It will resume upon the reservists return to work such that wages, duties, benefits and the position are not less beneficial than that which existed prior to the deployment.
Many employers, including the Provincial Government, already have agreements that ensure job protection for reservists. The Provincial Government recognizes the willingness of employers in the province to voluntarily support their employees when serving their country as reservists. The Provincial Government also has a broader responsibility to ensure that minimum standards of protection are in place for all provincial workplaces and for all employees covered by the Labour Standards Act.
2008 04 22 12:35 p.m.
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