The introduction of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (formerly Bill 148) has left many employers trying to understand and apply the legislatively required changes to their workplaces. One change causing considerable confusion is the revised vacation provision for long-tenured employees under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA). Formerly, all employees were entitled to a minimum of two weeks’ vacation (with some caveats and conditions) and four percent vacation pay; effective January 1, 2018, the ESA requires that employees with five years or more service with a company receive three weeks of vacation and six percent vacation pay. Many employers are full of questions, though: When exactly can employees begin taking that extra week? When do they earn it? How does the third week change vacation pay?
Among the many changes brought on by Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (formerly Bill 148), perhaps the most confusing section is the expansion of the equal pay for equal work provisions, which come into force April 1, 2018. The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) has long prohibited pay discrimination based on sex, but substantial additions to the part now further prohibit pay discrimination based on employment status.
Sick time is a pain in employers’ necks, a thorn in managers’ sides, and a fly in the attendance management ointment at many workplaces. Managing employee sick time is arduous and time-consuming for many businesses, with many employers putting a significant amount of effort into tracking, monitoring, and reviewing employee sick time. Despite all of this effort, sick time can be confusing for some employers, especially when defining certain terms and entitlements and how they interact with legislated standards. One example of this frequently pops up when employers offer non-legislated sick time in addition to the legislated entitlement to personal emergency leave (PEL) guaranteed under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).