Bill 8 – Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 had its First Reading on April 29. Expandable ‘Explanatory notes’ are provided within this First Reading version of the bill.
News release: Ministry of Labour news release, “Changes to employment standards will better protect children, support workers” (April 29, 2019):
Backgrounder: A Backgrounder is provided at the end of the news release.
A high-level synopsis of the significant changes (or not) is as follows:
- Temp agencies will need to be licensed (in case any of your businesses use them for staffing).
- Collective agreement provisions will need to meet or exceed the ESA requirements to replace (before just had to have a provision in CBA, on assumption that Union would ensure was at least as good).
- Employees under 16 (instead of 15) will need the approval of a guardian for light work and director for regular work and under 14 needs director’s permission.
- Withholding from wages will be limited to advances, purchase of goods and use or property (no longer good enough that hold back is to meet ‘credit obligation’).
- Records will need to be kept for four years instead of two.
- Tips must go to employees (i.e. no longer able to charge blanket service charge and keep some for capital improvement or management/owner – unless manager/owner does same work as employees; sharing amongst employees still allowed).
- Averaging agreement – no change, unfortunately, so still need to set out a schedule in advance which makes of limited use.
- New critical illness or injury leave:
- Applicable where “baseline statue of health has changed, and life of family member is at risk, care can be met by family member and family member requires care or support”;
- Up to 36 weeks for a child, up to 16 weeks for an adult; and
- Unpaid leave to be taken in units of one or more weeks (which means it can be split up which may be challenging for employers to accommodate).
- New leave respecting domestic violence:
- Unpaid leave to seek medical or social services, or to relocate or seek legal assistance; and
- Up to 10 days (in units of one or more days) and up to 15 weeks, in both cases the amount is for each year.
- Investigation of complaint process will result in a report to be considered in making a determination.
- 12 months to bring complaint (increase from prior 6-month time limit), with discretion of director to allow filing up to 24 months after alleged violation.
- Expanded definition of “officer” for liability for compliance.
- Director may waive payment of penalty (which is new as penalties are presently mandatory).
Please feel free to contact our Labour + Employment Practice Group if you have any questions about the proposed changes, or how they may affect your business.