The world of work and business is evolving. As technology changes how virtually everything is done in business, employers must keep up with the new demands of a competitive marketplace. They’re also looking to keep pace with the changing expectations and demands of employees.
The rise of just-in-time production has spurred the growth of just-in-time staffing, which has led to the growth in temporary and contract work. The gig economy is now in full swing, and many workers have embraced the increased freedom and latitude it brings. Staffing agencies are more popular than ever before, for employers and job seekers alike.
Governments finally seem to have noticed the significant changes, and now they’re attempting to modernize their employment legislation and standards for this new reality. Ontario introduced a number of changes to employment legislation, and Quebec appears ready to follow suit. Alberta has introduced a raft of changes to the Alberta Standards Code.
If you’re a staffing agency owner, you need to know these three things about the changes.
1. Leave Legislation Is Changing
One of the important changes coming is new leave legislation. One change of potential concern to staffing agency owners is the length of time prior to eligibility for leave. Under the previous version of the code, employees had to remain with an employer for one year before they’d be eligible for any leave.
The revised Code shortens this period significantly, making employees eligible for all current and new leaves after just 90 days. Other changes include extending compassionate care leave and maternity and parental leaves.
2. Changing Requirements for Compressed Work Weeks
Many employers utilize what’s been known as a “compressed work week.” A good example is a weekend shift that encompasses three 12-hour shifts worked on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This is just shy of the traditional 40-hour workweek but occurs in a much shorter period of time.
This type of work is to be renamed “averaging agreements” and will allow employers and employees to average the employees’ worked hours over a period of one to 12 weeks for the purposes of determining overtime. It must have majority support from affected employees.
3. Changes to Wages
The new Alberta Standards Code has several provisions pertaining to wages. Perhaps the biggest change is to the minimum wage, which will rise to $15 per hour in October 2018. This will be the highest minimum wage in Canada until Ontario follows suit with a $15 minimum wage in 2019.
The revised Code also contains provisions about general holiday pay, overtime, and vacation pay. Holiday pay will now be calculated at five percent of wages, holiday pay, and vacation pay earned in the four weeks preceding the holiday. Employees are no longer required to have worked 30 days in the past year to be eligible.
Vacation pay is now set at four percent of wages for employees who have been employed five years or less. For those who have been employed for more than five years, the rate is six percent.
Overtime banking is now being extended from three months to six months, allowing employees to bank overtime hours for longer. The revised code also allows a banked overtime hour to count as an hour and a half, rather than the straight hour-for-hour formula used previously. Thus, an employee who banks 40 hours of overtime can do so over six months, and they would be entitled to 60 hours of lieu time.
Why You Need to Know
Many staffing agencies offer payroll services to their clients. It’s thus important for them to be aware of changes to employment legislation, especially surrounding leaves, vacations, overtime, and wages.
Keep these changes to the Alberta Standards Code in mind and you’ll be better prepared to serve your clients with operations in Alberta.