On November 22, 2017 Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, was passed and with it comes many changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Some notable changes are:
• Increased minimum wage – general minimum wage will become $14/hour on January 1, 2018 and rise to $15/hour on January 1, 2019;
• 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 are prohibited from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors;
• Employees are entitled to be paid three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start;
• Employees are entitled to 3 weeks of paid vacation after 5 years working for the same employer;
• Employees are 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;
• Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave is created, with the first 5 days of the leave being paid;
• Several other family-related leaves are expended upon; and,
• Monetary penalties that Employment Standards Officers can issue to employers for breaching the Employment Standards Act, 2000 are increased.
There is also an amendment of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which makes it illegal for an employer to require workers to wear high heels unless it is required for the worker to perform his or her work safely or if the workers are in the entertainment or advertising industry.
These changes will impact employers and provide many new benefits for employees in Ontario. While there are different dates for when certain sections come into force, knowledge of the new rights and obligations under Bill 148 is key to ensure compliance and enforcement of the new or amended provisions.
Minken Employment Lawyers is your source for expert advice and advocacy on today’s employment law issues. Whether you are an employer or an employee and want to know more about the changes under Bill 148, we can help. Contact us to see how.