Protective reassignment

Starting with the 1998 negotiations with Treasury Board, PSAC began gaining maternity-related reassignment leave provisions in its collective agreements. When a job represents a threat to a woman’s pregnancy, the employer must modify a worker’s job functions, or reassign her to another position from the beginning of her pregnancy to the end of the 24th week following pregnancy. If this isn’t practical, the employee is entitled to leave without pay.

While this does represent a victory, paid leave for protective reassignment is the ultimate goal. During bargaining with Treasury Board in 2004 PSAC argued that the employer has an obligation to provide a safe work environment, as established through health and safety and human rights/no harassment jurisprudence. If employers cannot provide a safe work environment then they should pay for the employee's period of leave.

PSAC is still fighting for this demand at the bargaining table, and also trying to win progressive law reform on the issue. Delegates to PSAC’s 2012 national convention recommitted the union to its ongoing campaign to achieve paid leave for protective reassignment for pregnant and nursing women. 


September 25, 2014