Changes to Existing Laws
These changes will take effect January 1, 2018
- Employees will be eligible for current and new leaves after 90 days, rather than 1 year.
Compassionate care leave
- Job protection will be extended to 27 weeks, from the current 8 weeks, to better align with federal Employment Insurance benefits.
- Caregiver status will be expanded to include non-primary caregivers.
- Leave will be available for multiple weekly installments within the period outlined in the medical certificate, rather than the current limit of 2 installments.
- Notice to an employer will be kept at 2 weeks, however language indicating that leave can be taken as soon as reasonable will be added.
- End date for a leave can be either the date of death of the family member or the end of the 27-week period (whichever is earlier), or the employer would be allowed to postpone the employee’s return for 2 weeks when leave ends and the employee fails to return to work or provide proper notice.
- These changes align the allowable leave with federal Employment Insurance guidelines.
- Job protection for maternity leave will be extended from 15 to 16 weeks to account for the one-week waiting time for federal Employment Insurance benefits.
- Job protection for parental leave will remain at 37 weeks, but may be increased in the future to align with proposed federal Employment Insurance benefits.
- Legislation for the following will be modified such that:
- an employee may be terminated during the notice/entitlement period ONLY for situations where the business is closed or suspended
- leave will not apply if pregnancy terminates more than 16 weeks before due date
- an employee whose pregnancy terminates within 16 weeks of the due date will still be eligible for maternity leave; leave will end either 16 weeks after the leave began or 6 weeks after the pregnancy is terminated
- Employees will be entitled to a minimum of a 30-minute break (paid or unpaid) within every 5 hours of consecutive employment. If agreed to by the employer and employees, breaks can be taken in two, 15-minute installments.
Compressed work weeks
- This type of work arrangement has been renamed as “Averaging Agreements.” All such agreements will require support of the majority of affected employees, or be contained within a union collective agreement.
- Employers and employees will be allowed to agree to average work hours over a period of 1 to 12 weeks for the purpose of determining overtime eligibility. Employers that require longer cycles may apply for a permit.
- The Code will be clarified to indicate which deductions will be allowed from wages, as well as explicitly prohibiting deductions for faulty work and cash shortages (i.e. dine-and-dash and gas-and-dash scenarios).
- The ability for employers to pay employees with disabilities less than minimum wage will be removed.
- Overtime agreements will allow time to be banked for 6 months rather than 3.
- Overtime banking will be calculated at 1.5x for all overtime hours worked, rather than hour-for-hour.
General holiday and general holiday pay
- The requirement to have worked for 30 days in the 12 months before the holiday will be removed. Regular and non-regular day of work distinction will be eliminated.
- General Holiday pay will be calculated as 5% of wages, general holiday pay, and vacation pay received in the previous 4 weeks worked.
Vacations and vacation pay
- The Code will be clarified to indicate that employees must be paid 4% or 2 weeks of their total wages as vacation pay until they have been employed for 5 years, after which they must receive at least 6%.
- Half-day vacation increments will be allowed, up from a minimum of 1 day.
Termination and temporary layoffs
- Employers will have options when employees provide more notice of termination than required by the Code.
- Employers will be prohibited from forcing employees to use entitlements such as vacation or overtime during a termination notice period, unless agreed to by both.
- Requirements for providing termination notice to large groups of employees, unions and the Minister of Labour will be increased and scaled:
- 50–100 employees: 8 weeks
- 101–300 employees: 12 weeks
- 301+ employees: 16 weeks
- The possibility of an indefinite temporary layoff will be eliminated by requiring layoffs be limited to 60 days within a 120-day period. Layoffs could be extended if wages and/or benefits are paid and the employee agrees.
- Written notice of a temporary layoff to an employee will be required. Notice must contain effective date and outline applicable provisions of the Code.
- Waiver of the notice requirement for unforeseen circumstances beyond an employer’s control will be allowed.
- Recall notices from temporary layoffs will be required to be written.
- Termination pay will be calculated based on the previous 13 weeks of employment when the employee actually worked, not simply the calendar weeks preceding the termination.
- With the exception of artistic endeavours, youth under the age of 13 will not be allowed to work. (Youth under 13 will be allowed to be employed in artistic endeavours such as a theatre production with a permit.)
- The Ministry will consult to modernize the list of allowable ‘light work’ jobs for youth under 16 to include, for example, accommodation and food service tasks such as setting tables, golf caddying or working in a pro shop (not including cash registers) and tutoring, etc. The list will then be reviewed and updated every 3 years. Taking a job that is not on the list will require a permit.
- The Ministry will also consult to establish a list of hazardous work for young people.
- Youth under 16 will be prohibited from jobs deemed to include hazardous work.
- 16 and 17-year-olds will be allowed to do hazardous work only with a permit, and with proper training and supervision.
NOTE: No changes are being made immediately. These changes will come into effect after the Ministry finishes consultations on the lists of light work and hazardous jobs. Upcoming changes will have no effect on youth activities such as 4-H, or branding parties, and won’t stop friends and neighbours from helping each other as they have done for generations.