Ontario’s “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017”, aka Bill 148, means some big changes are coming to Ontario’s workplaces. Here are some key facts you should know:
Minimum wage is increasing to $14.00/hour on January 1, 2018 and eventually up to $15.00/hour by January 1, 2019. Minimum wage for students (under 18) will increase to $13.15 in January 2018 and $14.00 in January 2019. Minimum wage for liquor servers will increase to $12.20 in January 2018 and to $13.05 in January 2019.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Effective April 1, 2018, all employees, regardless of employment status (full-time, part-time, casual, temp, or seasonal), are entitled to the same rate of pay as regular employees when they are performing the same kind of work in the same kind of environment.
Different rates of pay are still acceptable where an employee’s rate of pay is based on seniority, merit, or productivity. Employees will be able to request a review of their wages with protection from reprisal and an employer must respond with either an adjustment or a written explanation.
Personal Emergency Leave
Regardless of the company’s size, employers will need to grant two days of paid leave and 8 days of unpaid leave in each calendar year in the event of emergency. Paid leave Is available after one week or more of employment.
Employers will no longer be allowed to require a doctor’s sick note, but retain the right to ask for evidence in certain circumstances.
Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave
Employees with at least 13 consecutive weeks of service are entitled to up to 10 days and up to 15 weeks of leave if the employee or a child of the employee experiences domestic or sexual violence or the threat thereof.
The first five days of the leave are to be paid by the employer and the leave must be taken for specific purposes (seeking medical attention or counselling).
Pregnancy & Family Medical Leave
The entitlement for employees who suffer a still-birth or miscarriage is increased to 12 weeks for those whose leave begins on January 1, 2018 or later.
The entitlement to family medical leave is increased to up to 28 weeks, in a 52-week period to provide care or support to certain family members facing a life-threatening issue.
Any employee that has five or more years with the company is now entitled to at least three weeks of vacation.
Employers are to pay for three hours of work if the employee’s shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time
Workers who have more than one rate of pay can no longer receive overtime at a blended rate. Calculation will now be based on the actual rate being earned after exceeding the overtime threshold.
Employers need to keep records for five years now instead of three.