Ontario’s workplaces are changing. The demands of the
modern consumer, the impact of new technology, the
increasing individualization of career paths and the rise of
the gig economy have collectively had a significant impact
on how we all earn our living.
In an effort to update Ontario’s labour laws for changing times,
the government of Ontario has introduced and passed the Fair
Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 – better known as Bill 148.
Although Bill 148’s most famous provision is the increase in
the minimum wage (from $11.60 to $14 as of January 1, 2018,
and to $15 in 2019), the overall changes enacted – intended to
balance employee rights and economic growth – are comprehen-sive.
Touching on most aspects of Ontarians’ working lives, these
changes will impact how employers pay and manage their people.
Employers, regardless whether they adhere to the minimum
standards or offer more generous benefits and flexible work
arrangements, will need to lean on their HR professionals and
evaluate the impacts of the changes brought forth by Bill 148 in
context of their operations. This includes reviewing human capital
management infrastructure, compensation structure and work-place
policies and procedures.
Below is a snapshot of some of the changes that may impact
employers, followed by key human capital management consider-ations
and best practices.
Bill 148 changes:
■■ Parental Leave: Eligible new parents can take a leave of up to 61
weeks (if pregnancy leave is taken) or 63 weeks (if pregnancy
leave is not taken)
■■ Vacation Entitlement Increase: Minimum vacation entitlement
for workers rose from two weeks to three weeks per year (after
five years with the same employer)
■■ Public Holiday Pay: Calculation changed for public holiday pay
to refer to regular wages in the pay period before the holiday
divided by the days worked (rather than a four-week period of
regular wages divided by 20)
■■ Overtime: The Mixed Hourly Rate (a weighted average
established for employees with multiple rates) was eliminated
in favour of paying overtime at the rate of the work performed
after the weekly threshold is reached
■■ Personal Emergency Leave: Rather than limiting this leave to
organizations with more than 50 employees, all workers are
now given 10 personal emergency leave days per year and a
minimum of two days are paid. Further, employees do not have
to provide employers with a sick leave note when requesting
personal emergency leave.
■■ Scheduling ( January 1, 2019):
■■ Th ree-Hour Rule: Removal of minimum wage component –
rather than topping up shifts less than three hours to three
times the minimum wage, eligible employees will be entitled
to three times their regular rate
■■ Three-Hour Rule: Broader application – the rule would
extend to unworked on-call situations and when shifts are
cancelled within 48 hours of the scheduled start time
■■ A right to refuse to work if scheduled with insufficient
advanced notice (96 hours)
While these changes raise the minimum working standards and
are good news for employees, they definitely present a new compli-ance
challenge for employers.
Here are some ways employers can respond:
IT’S MORE THAN
By Lyndee Patterson
ImageFlow / Shutterstock.com
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ MARCH 2018 ❚ 13