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Author Archive - Michele Glassford

Michele Glassford, is a lawyer, researcher and policy analyst with a background in employment and labour law. In addition to a part-time law practice in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Michele has worked in the field of labour adjustment for the Health Sector Training and Adjustment Program and has been a Researcher for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Michele also holds the position of VP and Managing Editor at D.R. Hancocks & Associates Inc., author of the Human Resources PolicyPros. Read more

Dealing with domestic violence in the workplace

A policy specifically providing domestic violence leave, even if there is no legislation requiring it, would not only provide employees with some protections and benefits during a crisis, but would have the indirect effect of providing the employer with key information to better assess risks of violence to employees in the workplace and to better protect their safety.

 

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Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program update: Part 2

As you may recall, we at Human Resources PolicyPro have been following up on the Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program (CERP) since 2015. On February 3, 2017, the federal government announced the roll–out of the CERP.

 

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EI waiting period changes January 1, 2017

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.

 

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Update on Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program

In late November 2015 we were advised by the Department of National Defence that it was “working with Employment and Social Development Canada to finalize all elements of the Program to ensure a seamless and comprehensive roll-out…., it is projected that web-based information for CERP will be fully accessible online through the Canada.gc.ca website in winter 2016.” In July I was still unable to find any further information on the program, and so I contacted the Department of National Defence and asked them for an update.

 

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The standard of decency

I have an internal debate with myself over whether most of the new or amended legal obligations answer a real need of employers and employees, or are borne of a need of legislators to justify their existence, or appear to addressing crises which really aren’t. And just as soon as I have convinced myself that additional laws and regulations are, for the most part, too onerous to justify their limited value, I read numerous news reports on the prevalency of wage theft in Ontario and workplace employment standards violations.

 

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Is it hot enough for you… to have an extreme heat policy?

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.

 

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Loose lips sink shifts?

A recent online article reported that two seventeen-year-old employees were fired from a Kansas City pizza joint for talking about their pay rates. Both were new employees with the same experience, and the female employee discovered she was earning $0.25/hour less than her male co-worker. When she contacted her employer for an explanation, she was fired for discussing wages with a co-worker, as was the male co-worker. The employer advised that discussing pay was against employer policy, even though both employees stated that such policy was never disclosed to them.

 

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Sick employees left to twist in the wind?

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?

 

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Tempest in a teapot – How to make your employees boil over

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.

 

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Don’t take your kids to work today

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.

 

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Warming up for 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.

 

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Tipping is not a city in China, it is now a regulated practice in many provinces

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…

 

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2016 – Looking forward, looking back

As the first blog post of the year, I thought it apt to first wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and second, to take the opportunity to take a quick look back and a long look forward at what might be coming down the road this year in human resources policy.

 

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When is it time to hire independent HR consultants?

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?

 

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The pay gap — Women’s social subsidy

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.”

 

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