HR | Atlantic - Positive Change at Work

Parents working with the same employer share top up

Feb 11, 2011

babyParents working with the same employer required to share parental leave top up. A employee filed a human rights complaint claiming discrimination on the basis of family status and marital status. Both the complainant and his wife were employed at the same hospital and covered by the same collective agreement. That agreement provides a “top up” to EI maternity or parental benefits for a period of 15 weeks. The top up provision provides a maximum entitlement of 15 weeks where both parents are employees, and the 15 weeks can be shared between the parents.

The complainant alleged that this requirement to share the 15 weeks of top up discriminated against him on the basis of his family and marital status.  He argued that if his wife worked for another employer he would be entitled to a full 15 weeks supplement and his wife would be as well.

Decision:

After examining the relevant collective agreement provisions, the PEI Human Rights Act and relevant case law from across the country, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission found that there was no discrimination under the PEI Act.  While the complainant may have been treated less favourably than other employees whose spouses or partners were not employed by the same employer, neither family status nor marital status was the reason for the differential treatment.  Rather, he was treated differently because he and his wife were both employed by the same employer.  The differential treatment was not based on any protected ground under the Act.

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