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Posts tagged: Vacation

Significant Changes to Employment Standards Coming to Ontario

By , June 2, 2017 8:36 am

On June 1, 2017, the Ontario government introduced legislation to amend Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995.

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (the “Act”), builds on the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report which was released on May 23, 2017 after two years of consultations, including with our law firm.

The Act proposes several significant changes to employment standards in Ontario including increased minimum wage, paid sick days, and increased vacation.  Specifically, the changes set out in the Act are:

  • increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018 and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019 – the lower rates for liquor servers and students will be increased by the same percentage as the general minimum wage;
  • entitling all employees to three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service with the same employer – currently the minimum is two weeks;
  • entitling all employees to 10 personal emergency leave days per year, including two paid days – currently only those who work for employers of 50 employees or more have personal emergency days and there are currently no paid sick days;
  • ensuring that casual, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees are paid the same as full-time employees when doing the same job for the same employer;
  • imposing sanctions on employers that misclassify employees as “independent contractors;” and
  • amending scheduling rules so that employees have the right to (i) request schedule changes without fear of reprisal and (ii) refuse shifts where the employer only gives four days’ notice.

Many of the changes would see precarious workers in Ontario experience as increase in compensation and paid time off work. We expect the paid sick days and scheduling rules to have a positive impact on female workers, in particular.  However, currently there is a significant gap between the rights contained in the ESA and the experience of workers.  The government has announced that it will hire up to 175 more employment standards officers to assist with education and enforcement of the ESA.  This will be the true test of whether these changes have a positive impact on Ontarians. Without increased compliance, the proposed changes are simply political posturing.

If you would like to speak to a lawyer at MacLeod Law Firm about employment standards, you can reach us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.

“The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.”

 

No Vacation for a Year? Understanding your Right to Vacation Days

By , March 21, 2016 10:00 am

You were offered a new position.  You negotiated for a great salary and many vacation days. When you start working, your employer tells you that although your contract says that you are entitled to many vacation days, you cannot take any vacation for the first year. Is this legal?

Vacation Entitlement and the Employment Standards Act

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) is the legislation that creates employees’ rights to paid vacation. The ESA provides that an employee must receive at least two weeks’ paid vacation per year.  However, there is a waiting period.

All employers have a ‘vacation entitlement year’. This is the period of time over which employees accrue vacation that they can take in the next year.  The idea is that an employee must earn the vacation by working – accruing the vacation days.

The majority of employers use a calendar year as the vacation entitlement year. Some chose another timeline.  Either way, if an employee starts working before the vacation entitlement year begins, she accrues/earns vacation for the partial year.  This is called the stub period. These vacation days may be taken after the stub period ends. The remainder of the employee’s vacation days cannot be taken until after the end of the vacation entitlement year.

An Example

Bob’s employer uses the vacation entitlement year of January 1st to December 31st. Bob is hired on December 2nd and his contract says his is entitled to three weeks’ vacation.  Technically, Bob accrues vacation at .25 days per month. His ‘stub period’ is from December 2nd to December 31st.  So, in Bob’s first year of employment, he can only take .25 days of vacation – even though his contract says he should receive three weeks’ vacation.

How to avoid this Situation 

Some employers will allow employees to take vacation right away, despite what the ESA says.  Other employers, will amend a contract to allow an employee to take vacation in the first year.

It is important to understand your contract, and to understand that law prior to signing an employment contract. Spending an hour with an employment lawyer reviewing each term of a contract or offer letter will ensure that you know the legal implications of each clause in the document and may lead to changes to the offer that benefit you. If you have an employment contract that you would like reviewed, a lawyer at MacLeod Law Firm would be happy to assist you. Please contact us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.

“The material and information provided on this blog and this website are for general information only and should not, in any respect, be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information linked or referred to or contained herein. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog, without first retaining counsel and obtaining appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed to practice law in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.”

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