The Ontario government has made major changes to employment standards with Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act.
As a result of the changes, a new Employment Standards Poster has been issued. You are still required by law to provide a copy of the poster to all employees (either physical or digital), and post a physical copy in a highly visible space in your business, such as the employee break room. The poster can be found here.
Here are the changes in effect as of January 1, 2019.
Ontario’s minimum wage will be held at $14/hour until October 1, 2020 where it will be re-indexed to inflation.
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Personal Leave Days
As of January 1, 2019, you will no longer be required to pay for two personal emergency leave days. Instead, all Ontario employees will be entitled to a total of eight unpaid leave days, broken down into three separate categories:
- Three (3) days for personal illness
- Three (3) days for family responsibilities
- Two (2) days for bereavement
You will be allowed to ask for documentation, so long as it is reasonable in the circumstances, including doctor’s notes.
Statutory Holiday Pay
To calculate statutory holiday pay, take the regular wages your employee earned over the last four weeks before the holiday and divide by 20.
2019 Statutory Holidays:
- January 1 (New Year’s Day)
- February 18 (Family Day)
- April 19 (Good Friday)
- May 20 (Victoria Day)
- July 1 (Canada Day)
- September 2 (Labour Day)
- October 14 (Thanksgiving)
- December 25 (Christmas)
- December 26 (Boxing Day)
All employees who have been with your business for less than five years are entitled to two weeks vacation at 4 per cent.
All employees who have worked with your business for more than five years or more are entitled to three weeks vacation at 6 per cent.
The planned scheduling changes, including mandatory 3-hours on call pay, shift-cancellation penalties and the 96 hours notice requirement for new shift will not come into effect. Scheduling requirements will remain the same as they currently are.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
As of January 1, 2019, you will be allowed to pay employees with different employment status (e.g. part time vs. full time) different rates for doing the same work at the same location.
Pay equity rules which were in effect before Bill 148 remain in effect.
Reinstating the Secret Ballot Vote
As of November 21, 2018, 2019, the secret ballot vote will be reinstated for the homecare/community services, building services and temporary help agency industries.
The 20 per cent Rule
As of November 21, 2018, you will no longer be required to hand over your employees’ personal contact information should 20 per cent of your workforce sign union cards.
Note: if you intend to review your internal policies to reverse or reduce requirements to meet the new minimum standards, please proceed with caution. Proper notice will be required.