The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: 2017 payroll rates; a survey indicating that many employees are not using their vacation time; and a case where an employee's dismissal without notice was justified.
Employees often rely on bonuses as a big part of their income and work hard throughout the year with the understanding that the efforts will be rewarded with a well–earned bonus. Employers on the other hand often attempt to limit the employee’s entitlement to bonuses and other incentives after termination, by including special contractual limitations in the employment and benefit plan contracts of the employee. In two recent decisions by the Ontario Court of Appeal the court has made it significantly more difficult for employers to avoid paying bonuses to wrongfully dismissed workers.
One of the questions at the forefront of many employers’ minds when they are considering terminating an employee without cause is how much it is going to cost. Unless there is a written employment contract with an express termination clause, an employer’s obligation is to provide reasonable notice of termination. Since there is no set formula for determining the appropriate length of the reasonable notice period, employers (or their legal counsel) must estimate what they think the notice period could be, having regard to the employee’s age, length of service, character of employment, the availability of similar employment, and the employee’s skills and training. Often, employers and their legal counsel will use a rough rule of thumb of one month notice per year of service (although the courts have denied that such a rule of thumb exists).