FREDERICTON (GNB) – Job protection is now in place, retroactive to March 12, for those who are not able to work because they have COVID-19, are caring for a person with whom they have a close family relationship who has the virus, or are following self-isolation or quarantine protocols as directed by Public Health.

The regulation also provides job protection for employees who cannot report to work because they are caring for their children due to school or daycare closures.

“We want to minimize the pressure on workers and protect their jobs during the pandemic,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “This is another measure we are taking to help ensure the health and safety of workers and workplaces.”

Employees must request this emergency leave from their employers, in writing, as soon as possible. The request must include the reason for the leave, the anticipated start date and the duration of the leave.

Employers are not required to pay employees while they are on a leave due to COVID-19.

Details on job protection for workers are available online.

Job protection provisions are not related to Employment Insurance (EI), and one does not necessarily influence the other. Questions about EI benefits can be directed to the federal government.

No new cases and no active cases in hospital

Public Health reports no new cases of COVID-19 today. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick remains at 118; the number of active cases is four and 114 people have recovered. None of the active cases are in hospital.

The latest updates and information on confirmed COVID-19 cases and laboratory testing in New Brunswick are available online.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said the government will continue to move cautiously in its recovery plan, to give businesses, workers, the health-care system and the public enough time to adjust to the “new normal.”

“It is very likely that New Brunswick will see COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks and months,” said Russell. “Preparations must be made for a second wave of infections that may strike later in the year. Other jurisdictions have learned a painful lesson about the cost of rushing back to normalcy. I want us to learn from their experiences.”

Support available to businesses and workers

WorkingNB services are available to any New Brunswick employer or job-seeker looking for support. Staff are available to provide services over the phone, and more options will be available in the near future.

“We know that, to have an environment where businesses and New Brunswickers can get back on track and thrive, we need to start re-energizing our private sector,” said Holder. “Our WorkingNB offices are a valuable piece of that puzzle for employers and job-seekers.”

Businesses with human resource challenges, including with recruitment, retention or training, can contact WorkingNB for support through a workforce consultant.

Workers seeking career or training opportunities can connect with an employment counsellor at WorkingNB. Counsellors can help clients identify career goals and connect them to the labour market through training and employment opportunities.

Staff will also be working with municipalities and economic development agencies to help address community challenges.

More information about WorkingNB is available online.

State of emergency extended

The provincial government renewed the state of emergency today under the authority of the Emergency Measures Act.

Revisions made to the order include:

  • All licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued under provincial laws that were valid as of March 16, previously extended to May 31, have been extended again to June 30. Many renewals can be done online at www.snb.ca.
  • A new paragraph has been added to authorize municipal councils and council committees to hold more meetings electronically. The Local Governance Act normally limits councillors’ participation electronically rather than in person.

The latest version of the order, which extends to May 14, is available online.

Job-matching platform to be created

On May 4, the government will launch a virtual job-matching platform to connect New Brunswickers with positions that, in the past, have been filled by temporary foreign workers.

It is anticipated there will be up to 600 jobs in sectors such as agriculture and aquaculture.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.

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