People in the paid workforce are entitled to certain rights; people in the unpaid workforce are not. These include union membership, safe working conditions, paid holidays and sick leave.
• 1971: Canada’s Unemployment Insurance legislation is expanded to provide women with maternity leave. While the legislation does recognize the importance of reproductive labour, it only provides benefits to those in the paid workforce who have contributed into Unemployment Insurance.
• 2004: Family Medical Leave becomes available under the Employment Standards Act, granting time off with benefits to those caring for an ill family member. This legislation recognizes care-giving contributions but again is only available to paid employees eligible for U.I.
The above legislation has recognized the importance of reproductive and care-giving tasks when they are performed by employees in the paid workforce, but when these same tasks are performed by non-wage earners, they are ignored.
Marilyn Waring. “Do Unpaid Workers have Rights?” 1 Way 2 C the world, Writings 1984-2006. University of Toronto Press 2009, p. 183-203
William T. Alpert. “Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefits in the United States and Canada: Judicial Decisions and Legislation.” The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 29, No. 2, Special Issue: Women’s Work, Wages,and Well-Being (Spring, 1994), pp. 535-554