Landmark workplace legislation passed in Ontario
According to a Ministry of Labour media release, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 will bring the following changes into force:
- Raise Ontario's general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
- Mandate equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as employees at the agencies' client companies
- Expand personal emergency leave to 10 days per calendar year for all employees, with at least two paid days per year for employees who have been employed for at least a week
- Ban employers from requiring a doctor's sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave
- Provide up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job when a worker or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence, including paid leave for the first five days
- Bring Ontario's vacation time in line with the national average by ensuring at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer
- Make employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time
To enforce these changes, the province is hiring up to 175 more employment standards officers and is launching a program to educate both employees and businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Here at Alliance Employment Services, we also are going to be faced with the challenges of the new Legislation. We are certain that it will be a very interesting year ahead.
As for the Minimum Wage increase in itself, although one could argue about the timing of how it was done, it is explainable and possibly was needed to catch up to the inflation. But as for the certain aspects of the legislation, such as; the new Statutory Pay Calculation formula, The Personal Emergency Leave rules and the 48 Scheduling rule, its hard agree with them. It does not look that whomever was working on designing these changes, put too much thought in too it.
All sounds logical on the surface, but in our opinion it fits better businesses that employ full time workers. As for the businesses that are forced by the current economy to stay flexible and responsive to the fluctuating market demands and in order to stay competitive need to employ Temporary or Seasonal staff, these 3 rules make it much more confusing and more expensive to implement.
Nonetheless, the law is the law and businesses will have adjust to it, but we are certain, that this time around, in order to comply with 100% of the new legislation requirements both the Business Clients and the Agencies will have to work together in order to comply. There is a lot of moving parts in the mechanism of Temporary Staffing, working together would definitely make it more manageable.
If you would like to talk to us about how Alliance Employment Services and our Clients are dealing with the challenges of this latest changes, please contact us. We will be glad to discuss with you this topic.
Most of the Material for this Article is found on the HRD Online Magazine