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Changes coming to B.C. employment standards: how you will be affected

On April 29, 2019, the provincial government announced a series of changes to the BC Employment Standards Act that will impact your business and how you manage your employees.

After consulting our members, CFIB advocated on behalf of small business and was successful in defending your rights in some crucial areas. This first round of changes includes:

  • The minimum working age will increase to 16 years (14 to 16-year old’s will need permission from the government).
  • Employees experiencing domestic violence will now have a protected leave of absence of up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • Employees will be entitled to take an unpaid leave of absence if they need to care for critically ill family members.
  • Employer can no longer withhold tips (for industries that use a business model with tipping) from employees, or take any portion of the tips for themselves unless they have performed the same duties that would warrant tipping.
  • Employers could face increased penalties when found responsible for withholding owed wages. However, the Employment Board can now waive penalties.
  • An extension of the recovery period for which workers can recover owed wages from 12 months — with the possibility of extending the period to 24 months under some circumstances, such as in cases involving willful or severe contraventions of the act.
  • The elimination of the requirement for employees to use the “Self-help Kit” before filing a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch, and 
  • Adding an employment standard audit arm, auditors will proactively go into businesses to ensure compliance with the act.

If you have any questions about how these changes may relate to your business, currently or in the future, please contact Business Resources – 1.888.234.2232 or