Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which just passed the Second Reading and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, proposes many changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000. From increasing the minimum wage, to expanding upon workplace leave, Bill 148 will affect both employers and employees in relation to employment standards entitlements and obligations.
Some of the suggested changes are:
Minimum Wage Increases
• The general minimum wage is increased to $14.00/hour on January 1, 2018 and to $15.00/hour on January 1, 2019;
Equal Pay for Equal Work Equal Pay for Equal Work
• Casual, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees must be paid the same as full-time employees when performing the same job for the same employer;
• Employers would be prohibited from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors;
• Employees of at least 3 months are able to request a change to their schedules and work location;
• Additional scenarios are added where the employer must pay the employee a minimum of three hours regular wages when there has been a certain type of change to the employee’s schedule;
• Employees will be entitled to 3 weeks of paid vacation after 5 years working for the same employer;
Expansion of Leaves
• Employees will be entitled to 10 Personal Emergency Leave days per year and 2 of those days must be paid;
• Employers will not be able to request a certificate from a qualified health practitioner from an employee who takes Personal Emergency Leave;
• Family Medical Leave will be increased from 8 weeks in a 26 week period to 27 weeks in a 52 week period;
• The end of Pregnancy Leave when the employee is not entitled to Parental Leave is extended from 6 weeks to 12 weeks after the birth, still-birth or miscarriage;
• Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave is created;
• Crime-related Child Death or Disappearance Leave is split into two separate leaves: Child Death Leave and Crime-Related Child Disappearance Leave;
Increased Penalties for Non-Compliance
• Monetary penalties that Employment Standards Officers can issue to employers for breaching the Employment Standards Act, 2000 are increased; and,
• The Ministry of Labour would be able to publically publish (including online) the name of the individual who was issued a notice of contravention, a description and date of the contravention, and the amount.
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