Substantial Changes to Workers’ Rights

Nov 27, 2017

On November 22, 2017, the legislature passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. The Bill makes several changes to employer obligations and employee rights under the Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”).

Symes Street & Millard has been closely following the Bill and written about it here and here.

The final version of the bill includes various amendments to the ESA, such as

  • New paid leave entitlements (e.g. domestic/sexual violence and critical illness);
  • New obligations on employers when it comes to scheduling;
  • Changes to public holiday pay and on-call pay;
  • Increased vacation entitlements; and
  • A higher minimum wage

Significantly, the Bill also introduces an employee’s right to “equal pay for equal work”. This means that an employer cannot pay employees who are doing “substantially the same” work different rates of pay except in specific situations (e.g. based on seniority). The legislature appears to be targeting the practice of some employers to pay part-time workers a lower rate of pay than full-time workers.

Many of these changes come into force on January 1, 2018.

Symes Street & Millard has extensive experience drafting employer policies to comply with changing legal obligations, as well as supporting employees in seeking their legal entitlements. If you would like to discuss your options, please contact us.

Photo by OFL Communications Department used under CC license.

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