An all-day solidarity rally is being held Tuesday by a union in Ingersoll, after one of their members was allegedly denied unpaid parental leave by the employer.
Unifor Local 2163 claims Autrans refused the request for 8 weeks of unpaid leave by a female employee, who’s in the process of adopting a daughter who was placed in her care last month.
The union believes Autrans has taken a position that is contrary to section 48.1 of the Employment Standards Act which states that “an employee who has been employed by his or her employer for at least 13 weeks and who is the parent of a child is entitled to a leave of absence without pay following the birth of the child or the coming of the child into the employee’s custody, care and control for the first time, c.41, S. 48 (1).”
“She wasn’t even requesting the full extent of the leave she’s entitled to,” said Unifor Local 2163 President Dawn McChrystal. “She was requesting 8 weeks of parental leave to get her daughter through the summer months and through the transition, it’s a crucial time if you speak to any child service worker or social worker, for a parent to be able to bond with their child when they’re first placed in their care.”
The child was placed in the employee’s care back on June 29th.
“[She] was planning on returning mid-September and unfortunately that request, as reasonable as it was, continues to be denied and she’s given sufficient time notice to the employer of when she would be requesting the leave and when she would be returning, but again, they’re adamant in refusing and demanding that she provide them with more paperwork stating that she’s the adoptive parent,” McChrystal said.
McChrystal admits the final adoption paperwork has not been completed, which can be a lengthy process, but other paperwork has been submitted.
“Family and Children Services placed the child with the family for the purpose of adoption and clearly laid out their intent in a letter to the employer, so they’ve been very supportive, Family and Children Services of St. Thomas in letting the employer know that the child was placed there with the intent to adopt, and that there is an interim court order to start that process for our member, and it is unconscionable that in 2016 employers are still refusing to acknowledge that this is a right, that parental leave is a right,” said McChrystal.
McChrystal said they’re planning to go through the union grievance process and lodge a formal complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal.
They’re also inviting everyone to Tuesday’s rally at Autrans, located at 17 Underwood Road in Ingersoll, from 7:30a.m. until 4:30p.m.