Government rejects employment probation recommendations

Government rejects employment probation recommendations The Yukon government won't reduce the employment probation period from six to three months, despite consultation results that suggest it's what the majority of residents want.

The Yukon government won’t reduce the employment probation period from six to three months, despite consultation results that suggest it’s what the majority of residents want.

The government agreed to consult Yukoners on the question after being asked to do so by the NDP a year ago.

Currently, an employee can be fired without cause or notice at any point during the first six months on the job.

“We feel it is important because the Yukon is woefully behind the rest of the country,” said NDP MLA Jan Stick in May of last year. “We’ve looked across the country to see what other jurisdictions are doing, and we are at the bottom. Some are as little as 30 days; most are three months’ probationary period.”

Only Yukon, New Brunswick and P.E.I. have a probationary period of six months. In Manitoba, it is 30 days.

Sixty-five people participated in the Yukon government’s recent consultation on employment standards laws. Fifty-seven percent of those supported changing the probation period to three months.

But in the legislature last week, Community Services Minister Brad Cathers said the results weren’t “clear cut” enough to merit changing the law.

“It is quite clear that there was very limited participation and feedback on that specific question from both employers and employees,” he said Monday.

But there were actually more responses to that question than to any other on the survey. Other questions had to do with making more unpaid leave available to parents of a child who is critically ill or has disappeared or died as a result of a crime.

The government followed through on that consultation in legislative amendments that passed third reading Monday.

It was the same consultation that led to those changes, said Stick in an interview Tuesday.

“You asked the question, you got the answer, why didn’t you follow through?”

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