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Alberta plans to expand bereavement leave to cover miscarriages, stillbirths

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April 25, 2022
By Talent Canada

Alberta's legislature building in Edmonton. Photo: Google Streetview

Alberta has introduced legislation to expand bereavement leave and reservist leaves.

Bereavement leave

The Labour Statutes Amendment Act would allow people who experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth to take unpaid bereavement leave.

In order to make this leave as accessible as possible, eligible employees who would have been a parent – such as biological parents, adoptive parents and surrogates – would be able to take leave, the province said.

“By offering this new job protection, we are supporting Albertans in times of great need,” said Jason Kenney, Premier. “Miscarriage and stillbirth are heartbreaking situations, and we want to make sure people have time to spend with their families and take care of themselves. Reservists do incredible work to protect Canadians and it is essential their contribution be recognized.”


Reservist leave

Reservists serve the country by responding to emergencies such as fires and floods, and serve on international missions, the province said in a press release.

To recognize their contributions and make it easier for them to fulfil their annual training requirements without using other entitlements like vacation, changes in the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would remove the 20-day limit on unpaid military reservist leave for annual training.

“Lifting the 20-day limit on unpaid reservist leave is an important step in recognizing that military training has evolved and often involves longer training periods,” said Brad Rutherford, MLA for Leduc-Beaumont and liaison to the Canadian Armed Forces. “By removing this 20-day limit, reservists in Alberta will feel confident that they can serve without sacrificing the jobs that provide for themselves and their families.”

Quick facts

  • Bereavement leave allows employees who have worked at least 90 days for the same employer to take up to three days of unpaid leave per year when a family member dies, without risk of losing their job.
  • Changes in the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would expand access to this leave to those who experience miscarriage or stillbirth.
  • The leave length will remain at three days per calendar year regardless of how many family members an employee may lose in a year.
  • Employees are not required to provide any proof of entitlement for the leave but must give their employer as much notice as possible to take the leave.
  • Employees may have access to more than three days of bereavement leave or may have paid bereavement leave if that is specified in an employment contract or collective agreement.
  • Reservist leave allows employees who have worked at least 12 consecutive weeks for the same employer to take unpaid leave to take part in annual training and Canadian Forces operations.
  • Currently, there is a 20-day limit on the amount of time reservists can take for annual training. Military stakeholders have indicated that reservists do not have enough annual training leave to complete their training duties. Changes in the Labour Statutes Amendment Act would remove the 20-day limit.
  • Reservists are still able to take reservist leave for the length of time that is necessary to take part in Canadian Forces operations, such as to deal with an emergency or its aftermath within Canada.

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