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Employer Advice – Employment Law Changes in 2019

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As of January 1, the many repeals of previous legislation changes included in Bill 47 have come into effect. Learn more about the implications for your business and employee relations, with the following six standouts for 2019.

  1. Minimum wage freeze

Bill 148 tended to focus on employees who were only making $11.60 minimum wage prior to January 1, 2018. Then, the legislation mandated a spike to $14. Bill 47 maintains the minimum wage where it sits now, thereby cancelling the additional climb to $15 previously slated for this month. As of October 1, 2020, minimum wage is set to realign with inflation.

  1. The repeal of scheduling provisions

Employers no longer need to pay employees for three hours’ work when cancelling shifts within 48 hours of their start. Bill 47 repeals most scheduling rules laid out in Bill 148. However, it continues to enforce paying employees for a minimum of three hours when an employee who regularly works for more than three hours a day is called to work, but ends up working for under three hours for reasons within the employer’s control.

  1. Personal emergency leave changes

Prior to Bill 148, employers with minimum 50 staff had to provide ten unpaid days per year for personal emergencies. Employees, in turn, had to provide a medical note if asked. Bill 148 then made three legislation changes. First, two of the ten days must be paid. Second, employers could request reasonable evidence for an absence, but not a medical note. And third, all employees could take leave no matter the company size. Bill 47 now repeals the first and second aspects, while allowing for eight days of unpaid leave, broken up by type. Employees can take three days for sick leave (i.e. illness, injury or medical emergencies), three for family responsibility (urgent matters related to close relatives), and two for bereavement.

  1. The repeal of holiday pay

Bill 148 previously changed the public holiday pay calculation on January 1, 2018, but reverted to the original on July 1, 2018 after realizing the adjustment made the numbers too high. Bill 47 will now maintain this calculation: The total money and vacation pay that an employee earns in the four-week pay period prior to the week of a public holiday, divided by 20.

  1. The repeal of misclassification

Prior to Bill 148, there was no specific legislation related to misclassifying employees. The previous government then implemented violations for misclassification and reverse onus for an employer to prove individuals were independent contractors, rather than employees. Bill 47 has now repealed the reverse onus aspect.

  1. The repeal of equal pay for equal work

Employers no longer need to enforce equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status. This refers to whether employees are full-time or part-time, permanent or contract. However, Bill 47 continues to enforce equal pay for equal work on the basis of sex.

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