There are also new termination considerations when employers effect a “group termination.” Employers will provide 8 weeks of notice of termination, or pay in lieu thereof, in such cases.

There are also a number of new breaks and leaves under the Code. Specifically, employees will be entitled to a 30-minute unpaid break for every five consecutive hours of work, a rest period of at least eight consecutive hours between shifts, and unpaid breaks necessary for nursing or expressing breast milk.

Changes to leave provisions include:

Personal Leave 5 days (3 paid days) In force at a future date
Victims of Family Violence Leave 5 days (paid after 3 months of service) In force at a future date
Medical Leave Up to 17 weeks unpaid.

Replaces sick leave and includes leaves for organ donation or medical appointments.

After more than 3 days, the employer can request a certificate from a health care practitioner

In force on September 1, 2019
Court or Jury Duty No maximum (unpaid) In force on September 1, 2019

In addition to these new leaves, the Bill includes the elimination of most minimum service requirements. In other words, employees will be eligible for leaves (including maternity and parental leave) and holiday pay without having been employed for a minimum period of time.

Parental Leaves and Benefits (In Force on March 17, 2019)

Another piece of legislation affecting employee rights is the Employment Insurance Act. Its amendments will encourage parents to share parental leave by providing an additional eight weeks of Employment Insurance if both parents share the leave. The Code‘s amendments also reflect these changes.

Additionally, because there is no minimum service requirement for these leaves, employers may need to reconsider their parental leave policies.

Vacation (In Force at a Future Date)

Presently, the Code provides for a minimum of two weeks of vacation and vacation pay equivalent to 4% of the employee’s wages in the first six years of service. After six years of service, the vacation increases to three weeks and vacation pay is equivalent to 6% of the employee’s wages. With the new changes in the Code, this increase will take place after five years of service. After 10 years of service, there will also be an additional increase of the minimum of vacation to four weeks and vacation pay to 8% of the employee’s wages.

Other Changes

There are a number of other changes contemplated in the Bill that may have an impact upon an employers’ policies or practices. A sampling of these changes include:

  • Scheduling: employers need to provide notice of schedule changes 96 hours before the next shift, failing which employees may refuse the change for 96 hours;
  • Provision of information: employers will need to provide “a written statement” prescribed by the regulations under the Code, relating to employee rights, within 30 days of the publication of such statements.
  • Equal Pay: Employers must provide equivalent wages to employees who perform the same job, regardless of “employment status,” i.e.: part-time, casual, seasonal or full-time. There are some exceptions based on the employer’s approach to remuneration.
  • Temporary Help Agencies face certain prohibitions regarding charging fees to their employees, and preventing the employee from contracting with their client. They are also subject to the equal pay provisions of the Code that apply to their clients.

With the adoption of Bill C-86 into law, federally regulated employers will have to reconsider many of their practices and policies. For all questions related to these legislative changes for employers, the Gowling WLG Employment, Labour & Equities Group would be pleased to assist. Find out more about our Group and how to contact a specific lawyer.

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