After months of debate among economists, business advocates and workers alike, the Wynne government’s new workplace legislation has officially passed.
Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, has roused mixed opinions. Some are hailing it a massive job booster, while others are saying it will be a detriment. Only time will tell, and soon, since the new legislation comes into effect January 1, 2018. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key elements of the legislation you’ll want to know.
1. The minimum wage hike
The Act contains quite a bit more than just the minimum wage hike, though it has dominated much of the conversation. Minimum wage is slated to go up to $14 per hour as of January 1, 2018, with another bump up to $15 come January 1, 2019. There are some exclusions — students under 18, servers, hunting and fishing guides and people who work from homes for their employer will continue to be paid a special minimum wage rate that will be lower.
2. No more lackluster scheduling
Under the new legislation employees will have more flexibility when being scheduled and will be offered more compensation. If an employee regularly works more than three hours a day they will have to be compensated for a minimum of 3 hours on days when they show up to work but are given less than that. Employers who cancel shifts less than 48 hours before the start of an employee’s shift will now be required to compensate that employee for three hours of work.
3. Equal work for equal pay
The new legislation stipulates that part-time, casual, seasonal and temp workers should be paid the same wages as full-time employees when they are completing the same job.
If an employee suspects they aren’t receiving equal pay, they can request a review from their employer. The process allows the employer to either raise the stipulated wages to match or to offer a formal dispute.
4. Leave for everyone
A number of changes are coming to emergency leave and vacation time through Bill 148. All workers will now be entitled to personal emergency days, including those at businesses with less than 50 employees. Workers will have 10 personal emergency days, two of which will be paid. Workers who have been at a company for more than 5 years will also be entitled to 3 weeks of vacation.
5. High heels will no longer be mandatory
Bill 148 will amend Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act will prevent employers from requiring employees to wear high heels in the workplace, unless heels are required to complete one’s job safely. There are also exceptions to this rule in place for some performers.