As a follow-up to our June 2, 2017 alert regarding the proposed changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, (the “ESA”), employers should be aware that the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (the “Committee”) adopted significant amendments to Bill 148, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (“Bill 148”), which are currently being debated by the Ontario legislature.

We have highlighted a few of the amendments adopted by the Committee below, which are expected to make the biggest impact on Ontario employers, if passed:

Leaves of Absences

Parental Leave: The length of parental leave will increase by a total of twenty-six (26) weeks as follows:
· From thirty-five (35) weeks to sixty-one (61) weeks for employees who take a pregnancy leave
· From thirty-seven (37) weeks to sixty-three (63) weeks for employees who do not take a pregnancy leave

The above noted changes bring the ESA in line with recent changes to the Employment Insurance Act.

Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave: Employees who have been employed for at least thirteen (13) consecutive weeks shall be entitled to an unpaid leave of absence of up to fifteen (15) weeks where the employee or the employee’s child experiences domestic or sexual violence or threat of sexual or domestic violence. The leave must be taken for specific purposes defined within the legislation.

Personal Emergency Leave: Employees must have worked for an employer for one (1) week before becoming entitled to the two (2) paid days of personal emergency leave.

Record Keeping
Employers will have additional record keeping responsibilities in addition to the current record keeping requirements contained in the ESA.