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The Progressive Economics Forum

Parental and Caregiving Leaves

The very narrow and brief on-line consultations around parental and caregiving leaves finishes today. As we’ve done in the past, a coalition of community and labour organizations worked together to develop a common list of policy asks. Even though the official consultation is finished, we encourage concerned individuals and groups to submit their own recommendations to ESDC and Minister Duclos.

le français suit

A Joint Letter from Community and Labour Organizations, concerning Federal Consultations on Parental & Caregiving Leaves and E.I.

 We represent a number of community and labour organizations with concerns about the current federal consultations on amending Employment Insurance and Canada Labour Code provisions for Parental and Compassionate Care leaves. In particular we are concerned that the Government has restricted itself to a very narrow set of options.

There are other, more meaningful options for change. We need more realistic options for working families, with a priority for social equity and anti-poverty measures.

  1. We urge the Government to keep a focus on the big picture which includes our social programs and public services. We are in urgent need of:
    • Improvements in EI access and benefits, especially for those in precarious jobs,
    • A public, universal and affordable childcare program for families across Canada, including infant care,
    • New investments in our health care system, including eldercare.
  1. The evidence in Quebec and internationally demonstrates the success of additional parental benefits which are dedicated ‘use it or lose it’ weeks for the second parent. Such provisions help enormously to improve gender equity and shared parenting with many long-term benefits for society. We propose an additional 8 benefit weeks.
  1. There is little point to improving parental and other EI special benefits if there are still women and men who can’t qualify because they can’t meet EI’s 600 hour minimum. We propose all EI special benefits require the lesser of 300 hours (pre-1996 minimum) or $2,000 income (Quebec minimum for parental benefits).
  1. Workers with a new child, those on sick leave or caring for sick family members require more than 55% of their normal earnings while on leave. We propose a benefit rate of 70% and a minimum EI benefit for low wage earners.
  1. Access to EI special benefits should be restored for all migrant workers. A discriminatory two-tier system was introduced in December 2012.
  1. EI is not an appropriate means to address protective re-assignment/leave benefits. Quebec for example addresses it through the workers compensation system.
  1. Compassionate Care Benefits should be available when caring for someone with a critical illness (but not necessarily at imminent risk of death, as currently required).

Thank you for considering our position.

 

Déclaration commune des groupes communautaires et syndicaux dans le cadre des consultations fédérales portant sur les congés parentaux, les prestations de compassion et l’assurance-emploi

Nous représentons des organisations syndicales et communautaires préoccupées par les consultations qui ont actuellement cours visant à modifier certaines dispositions de la Loi sur et du Code canadien du Travail quant aux congés parentaux et de compassion. En particulier, nous questionnons le fait que votre gouvernement se soit restreint à un nombre aussi limité de mesures proposées.

Nous considérons qu’il y a d’autres options qui seraient plus souhaitables et pertinentes. Nous avons besoin de mesures plus adaptées à la réalité des travailleurs et de leurs familles et qui font de l’équité sociale et de la lutte à la pauvreté des priorités.

  1. Nous pressons le gouvernement d’avoir une vision globale qui tienne compte de nos programmes sociaux et nos services publics. Il est urgent que les mesures suivantes soient mises en oeuvre :
    • Améliorations au niveau de l’accessibilité et de la générosité des prestations régulières d’assurance-emploi, particulièrement pour les travailleurs précaires.
    • Programme national de garderies public, universel et abordable (adapté également aux nourrissons).
    • De nouveaux investissements dans le système de santé canadien, incluant des soins pour les aînés.
  1. L’expérience du Québec et à l’international ont illustré le succès d’octroyer des prestations additionnelles ciblées et non transférables pour le deuxième parent. Ce type de mesure favorise grandement l’équité entre les sexes et le partage des responsabilités familiales, ce qui engendre des bénéfices à long terme pour la société. Nous proposons huit semaines de prestations supplémentaires.
  1. Il s’avère pratiquement inutile d’améliorer les congés parentaux et les prestations spéciales si peu de travailleurs réussissent à s’y qualifier vu qu’ils n’arrivent pas à accumuler les 600 heures assurables nécessaires. Nous proposons que la plus basse des deux options suivantes permettent aux travailleurs de se qualifier à des prestations spéciales: 300 heures (minimum exigé avant la réforme de 1996) ou 2000$ de revenus (seuil d’admissibilité au Régime québécois d’assurance parentale).
  1. Les travailleurs nouvellement parents, ceux en congé de maladie et ceux qui qui prennent soin d’un proche ont besoin de plus que 55% de leur rémunération habituelle. Nous proposons un taux de prestations à 70% et un montant minimal de prestations pour les bas salariés.
  1. Redonner accès aux prestations spéciales pour les travailleurs migrants étant donné qu’un système discriminatoire a été introduit en décembre 2012.
  1. La question du retrait préventif (ou de la réaffectation) de la travailleuse enceinte ne doit pas être prise en charge par le régime d’assurance-emploi puisque ça relève de la santé et de la sécurité au travail. Par exemple, le Québec a son propre régime de santé et de sécurité du travail qui indemnise les travailleuses enceintes.
  1. Les prestations de compassion devraient être accessibles aux travailleurs qui prennent soin d’un proche gravement malade (et non uniquement lorsqu’il y a risque de mort imminente).

Merci de considérer notre position.

Signatories / Signataires

Fédération des travailleurs et des travailleuses du Québec, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canadian Child Care Federation, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Federation of University Women, Canadian Labour Congress, Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Community Society End Poverty – Nova Scotia, Family Service Toronto, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, Good Jobs for All Coalition, Income Security Advocacy Centre, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, Ontario Community Legal Clinic EI Working Group, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Unemployed Workers Help Centres, Saskatchewan, UNIFOR, United Steelworkers, Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Workers’ Action Centre

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Comments

Comment from Larry Kazdan
Time: November 5, 2016, 2:14 am

(of possible interest – the United States)

Paid Leave and Daycare: Luxuries of the Wealthy

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/10/paid-leave-daycare-luxuries-wealthy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+neweconomicperspectives%2FyMfv+%28New+Economic+Perspectives%29

“Deficit hawks often use their concern for future generations as a basis to argue in favor of cutting entitlement programs such as Social Security. Instead of talking about cutting entitlements, the story should be about expanding them with programs that will actually help children, such as providing paid family leave for parents and addressing the rising costs of childcare. If our children are so important to deficit hawks, then why do they oppose policies that would actually have a positive impact on their future?

Various studies have pointed out the positive impact of paid parental leave on both the child and family’s health. Some of the known benefits are lower child mortality, lower rates of post-natal depression in mothers, and a greater likelihood that mothers will return to work. Particularly interesting is a study that points to higher educational attainments and incomes for children whose mothers had taken maternity leave.”

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