Labour movement wins paid leave for survivors
On May 13, 2019, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) helped win paid leave from work for survivors of domestic violence.
"Paid leave from work for survivors of domestic violence will save lives, as it's one additional tool survivors can use when they flee an abuser," said SFL President Lori Johb, "the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, our affiliated unions, and the Saskatchewan New Democrats have been advocating for this for years - I'm glad the provincial government has finally agreed with us and passed this legislation," she added.
National and provincial studies have shown that domestic violence follows survivors to the workplace. One of the many ways domestic violence impacts work is survivors may delay or abandon plans to flee their abuser if it could result in losing their job or losing needed wages. Until now, survivors in Saskatchewan had to choose between protecting themselves and their children, and keeping their livelihood. Paid leave from work means survivors will not be financially punished for such things as: getting to safety, seeking medical attention, obtaining support services, seeing a lawyer, making a police report, and finding emergency childcare.
Saskatchewan has the highest rates of domestic violence by intimate partners amongst all Canadian provinces.
"While I am thrilled that survivors now have access to paid leave, the work of combating domestic and sexual violence in Saskatchewan is far from over," said Johb, "I encourage the provincial government to increase funding to violence prevention programs and to organizations that provide support services. We also need to see the provincial government drastically increase resources and staff in the Status of Women office to better inform the province's policy-making, legislation, and program development. Tackling poverty and working with leaders from marginalized communities will also go a long way in reducing Saskatchewan's rates of domestic violence," she added.