PRESS RELEASE: Designated Leave for Workers Experiencing Domestic and Sexual Violence is Essential

October 5, 2017

Richmond Hill, Ontario (October 5, 2017) – SEIU Healthcare is encouraged by the Ontario government’s introduction of new legislative amendments to be included in Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

“Fair workplaces are not just about equal pay for equal work,” said SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart. “Anyone who is in an unsafe situation deserves time to take the necessary steps to get out of it. Nobody should have to choose between their job and their safety.”

Creating a designated leave for workers who suffer from domestic or sexual violence, predominantly experienced by women in the workforce, acknowledges that fair workplaces also need to take into consideration equitable practices.

“Half of all women will be physically or sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime,” said SEIU Healthcare Executive Board Women’s Representative Mina Amrith. “This is not merely a statistic. Statistics ignore these workers invisible emotional pain and suffering. By giving domestic and sexual violence survivors designated leave, you are allowing and encouraging them to take the necessary steps to resolve their situation and begin to recover.”

Enabling a worker to take up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave from work to escape a dangerous situation to access the necessary supports demonstrates Ontario is moving in the right direction. Providing safeguards to allow some economic security in the face of uncertainty will support women and families to participate in a growing economy.


SEIU Healthcare represents more than 57,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union's members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. SEIU Healthcare has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for healthcare workers, supporting the training and development needs of its members, and strengthening standards in the management and delivery of patient and client care.

For media inquiries, contact:
Grace Ghunaim
SEIU Healthcare

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