Bill 148 was passed on November 22nd bringing many changes to the Employment Standards Act effective January 1st, 2018. Also referred to as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, this piece of Ontario legislation means big changes for Canadian companies and employees alike.
Learn how these changes will alter the Ontario staffing industry moving forward, and how you and your clients will be affected.
The minimum wage increased to $14.00 per hour on January 1, 2018, and will increase to $15 per hour on January 1, 2019. The general minimum wage will then continue annual increases at the rate of inflation.
Paid Personal Emergency Leave
All temporary workers who have been on assignment longer than one week are now entitled to two paid emergency days in a calendar year, for medical emergencies relating to the worker themselves or defined family members. Previously, the paid personal emergency leave was limited to workplaces with 50 or more employees.
Temporary workers are also entitled to eight unpaid days of leave, for a total of 10 days per calendar year. While employers may request evidence reasonable in the circumstances from their employees to qualify for the leave, Bill 148 incorporated changes whereby employers can no longer require a letter from a certified health practitioner.
Staffing agencies must be prepared to handle and track these changes and rights for their assignment employees. Discussions with clients are needed to determine the costs associated with these new benefits and ensure master service agreements are updated accordingly.
Does your staffing agency need helping managing all the changes associated with Bill 148? At The Staffing Edge, we have updated our systems to manage tracking of personal emergency leave days and billing options to clients. Let us help with the ever-changing legislation.
Statutory Holiday Pay
The statutory holiday pay calculation also changed effective Jan 1, 2018. The calculation is now based on the number of days worked in the pay period immediately preceding the statutory holiday. Most temporary workers will now receive a full day’s pay for public holiday payment under the new calculation method. Statutory holiday pay will be payable to everyone who works the week before the holiday or the week of the holiday.
All staffing agencies will need to review current master service agreements with clients and discuss new changes and how the new costs will be distributed. The Staffing Edge has updated systems to streamline calculation of statutory holiday pay due to assignment workers under the new calculation.
The new legislation also affects assignment employees whose assignments need to be ended. If you’ve committed to a temporary employee that their assignment will last longer than three months, but then have to end their assignment before the three months is complete, workers will be entitled to one week’s notice of their assignment ending.
It’s important to understand assignment duration and to clearly communicate with all temporary employees what you know about the assignment duration. Staffing agencies should be working with their clients to ensure they provide working notice where possible or have another placement immediately available to offer the assignment workers.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
The equal pay for equal work clause, to take effect on April 1st, 2018, ensures that Assignment Employees are entitled to receive equal pay for “equal work,” meaning work that is substantially the same, requiring the same skill, effort and responsibility and performed under similar working conditions in the same establishment. This extends to all employees, including full-time, temporary, seasonal, casual, and part-time workers.
There are exceptions for differences in the rate of pay based on seniority, merit, systems that measure quantity or quality of production, and other reasons not based on the gender of a worker, such as, for example, skill-based differences.
Staffing agencies will need to work with clients to develop clear job descriptions for assignment employees. Where clients’ full-time employees have different responsibilities and skills required in the work they do, these need to be clearly stated in their job descriptions also. This will help to determine if there are differences in the roles assigned to temporary workers vs full-time employees.
Staffing agencies will need to educate clients that temporary workers will be able to request a review of their wages if they believe there to be a disparity. All clients will then have to work in cooperation to respond to these requests.
Is your staffing agency struggling to keep up with managing and tracking all the changes of Bill 148? Do you need help with managing all the back office pieces of the legislation? Let The Staffing Edge help your agency stay compliant and support continued growth by providing you the tools you need to succeed.