New and extended employment leave provisions in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan has adopted a number of new and extended employment leave provisions that will affect pension and benefit plan sponsors.
Pursuant to Bill 153, maternity and adoption leave periods were increased from 18 weeks to 19 weeks. Parental leave was also extended from 34 weeks to 59 weeks for a parent who takes maternity or adoption leave, and extended from 37 weeks to 63 weeks for a parent who does not take maternity or adoption leave.
Interpersonal violence leave was expanded to include leave for victims of sexual violence. Furthermore, employees are now permitted to take up to 17 weeks of leave to care for a critically ill adult family member.
Bill 172 amended The Saskatchewan Employment Act to allow employees to take five paid days and five unpaid days of leave, compared to the previous 10 days of unpaid leave. To be eligible for such leave, the employee, employee’s child or a person for whom an employee is a caregiver for, must be a victim of interpersonal or sexual violence.
The changes in Bills 153 and 172 came into effect on May 15, 2019.
On November 27, 2019, Saskatchewan introduced Bill 200, which would extend the period of parental leave by a further eight weeks to account for the new shared parental Employment Insurance benefit. Bill 200 will come into force upon proclamation.
Saskatchewan requires pension and benefit accrual to continue during a leave period, subject to the employee making the required contributions under the plan. This means that Saskatchewan employers must ensure that their pension and benefit plan coverage complies with their statutory obligations. In addition, Saskatchewan employers should review workplace policies and documentation to ensure that the leaves available to employees are accurately reflected.