The Ontario government’s much publicized overhaul to the province’s employment standards legislation will take effect as early as December 3, 2017.
For the most part, vulnerable employees and employees in precarious employment will benefit from these legislative changes.
As far as employers are concerned, these changes will result in higher payroll costs and a more regulated workplace.
I believe most employers will need to change existing employment practices and policies to comply with this new law.
This blog summarizes a few of the changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.
Increased Payroll Costs
The minimum wage increases from $11.60 to $14.00 as of January 1, 2018 and to $15.00 on January 1, 2019 – about a 30% increase.
Employees are entitled to an extra week of paid vacation after 5 years employment.
For the first time, employees are entitled to paid leaves of absence.
The cost of replacing an employee who is on a leave or is unable to work will in many cases be going up. It will not matter whether you hire someone on your own or you use a temporary help agency unless your organization can satisfy a statutory exemption.
Wages for part-time workers are also going up unless an employer can satisfy a statutory exemption.
The cost of cancelling a shift on less than 48 hours’ notice, or sending a person home early if the person is scheduled to work 3 or more hours is also increasing.
Restrictions on an Employer’s Traditional Management Rights
New limits on scheduling work have been introduced which allow employees to refuse changed schedules.
Employees have the right to take more time off work. In particular, employees are entitled to longer and new leaves of absences. For example, combined pregnancy and parental leave is being increased from 12 months to 18 months, the family medical leave is being increased from 8 weeks to 28 weeks, the critically ill child care leave has been expanded and renamed the critical illness leave and now encompasses not only children of the employee but minor and adult family members as well, and employees are now entitled to take up to 17 weeks of domestic assault leave.
Employers can no longer request a doctor’s note if a person asks for a personal emergency leave day, including a sick day.
How to Comply with the Changes to the Employment Standards Act
To help employers understand the implications of these legislative changes on their workplaces the MacLeod Law Firm has developed a compliance service. It involves reviewing your organization’s current employment practices and policies and recommending changes that are needed to bring them into compliance with the changed employment standards legislation.
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