Author Archive - Michele Glassford
As reported by Yosie Saint-Cyr in the October 24, 2016 edition of HR Infodesk, the federal Employment Insurance Act was amended on June 22, 2016, in part to decrease the waiting period for benefits to commence from two weeks to one week. The new waiting period is to commence on January 1, 2017. The change, in effect, reduces the total benefit entitlement period under EI, although it doesn’t change the maximum benefit period, or weeks of benefits payable.
Work in extreme weather conditions, such as heat or direct sunlight, for extended periods of time creates risk to employees. 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest summer on record, creating extreme working conditions for many. Most jurisdictions have specific regulatory provisions regarding thermal conditions or heat exposure, in addition to the general duty in all jurisdictions for employers to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances for the protection of workers under occupational health and safety provisions.
The recent increase to Employment Insurance benefits for Compassionate Care Leave from 8 weeks to 28 weeks has given most employees in Canada the ability to care for seriously ill loved ones without jeopardizing their employment for up to 28 weeks. In addition to compassionate care leave most provinces also provide for critically-ill child care leave and some family responsibility leave enabling employees to cover the periods of illness of family members. So why don’t most provinces offer the same job protection to sick employees?
A recent news report stated that DavidsTea, and several popular retailers, have been asked by multiple US jurisdictions to provide information regarding the use of “on-call” shifts. According to the article “DavidsTea under fire for scheduling of staff,” the practice of “on-call” scheduling requires employees to call in to the employer prior to shift to confirm if they are required to come in.
On the heels of the most exciting baseball season in over twenty years for Canadian baseball fans, a few of us are paying more attention to spring training. And although there is little comparison between the working conditions of major leaguers and the rest of us, the “retirement” of Adam LaRoche from the Chicago White Sox, allegedly because he was asked not to bring his son to the clubhouse as much, raises the question of whether it is ever appropriate to bring your kids to work.
A friend recently mentioned that his workplace was implementing a warm-up/stretching requirement at the beginning of shift. It appeared that the program was being met with some raised eyebrows and even some verbal resistance from employees. The workplace was one of physical labour and so, once you get past the novelty of the idea, common sense suggests this may be a good idea.
On December 7, 2015 Ontario passed an amendment to its Employment Standards Act to protect employees’ tips from being usurped by business managers and owners. The amendment will come into effect six months after it receives Royal Assent. In most provinces, tips and gratuities are specifically excluded from the definition of “wages” in employment standards laws…
A friend recently told me about his (manufacturing) workplace where most of the equipment is broken, production lousy and new employees last “sometimes four hours, sometimes a week” but rarely longer than that. He reported that the business owner had recently woken up and hired an independent consultant to take a look and make recommendations for the business. I don’t know if this company has any HR personnel, but many small to medium companies do not have dedicated HR personnel, save and except for payroll, and may have a general manager or owner who is oblivious to what goes on the shop floor. So what are the warning signs of a workplace that needs attention?
The wage gap appears to be on the agenda. On October 8, Ontario Labour Minister announced that a Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee will commence public consultations across the province to examine the wage gap and how the role of women at work, at home and in the community are affected by the gender wage gap, as well as to “assess how government, business, labour, other organizations, and individual leaders can work together to resolve issues that may cause the wage gap.”
The recent well-publicized transgender celebrities, and Emmy wins for the Amazon show Transparent, have put gender identity, gender expression, transsexual and transgender issues on the social and political agenda. Most employers should already have general anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and accommodation policies recognizing protected human rights grounds. So if an employer doesn’t have a transsexual or transgender employee, how important is it to have a specific policy dealing with transsexual, transgender, gender identity and gender expression? For some employers, it may be essential.
A few weeks ago there were well-publicized reports of the planned and implemented increase to Wal-Mart’s minimum starting pay rate having a very negative effect in the workplace.