Bill 148 Significant Amendments

Bill 148

December 2017

 

We would like to share with our valued clients some information on Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.  The Bill passed Third Reading in the Ontario Legislature on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 and received Royal Assent on November 27, 2017. The legislation significantly amends both the Ontario’s Employment Standards Act 2000 and the Labour Relations Act.  There are a few minor changes to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.    We are sharing this information bulletin with you because most of the changes come into force on January 1, 2018.  

Summary

Many of the provisions are significant as they are granting either a new benefit or a defined cost increase. Many of the changes will require employers to revise existing policies, HR processes and incur costs.  We strongly recommend a proactive approach to managing these changes to minimize the impact on your business.  Here are some of the changes:

 

Employment Standards Act

 

  • Increased Minimum Wage. The general minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour effective January 1, 2018 and $15 per hour effective January 1, 2019. Students will increase to $13.15 and $14.10 respectively and Servers $12.20 and $13.05 respectively.

 

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work. Unless properly differentiated, part-time, casual or temporary employees will be entitled to the same rate of pay as a full-time employee performing substantially similar work. These amendments come into force April 1, 2018.

 

  • Employee Misclassification. The way employers classify an employee must be accurate (independent contractors for example). The employer will now bear the burden of proving the individual is not an employee and the associated penalties. This amendment comes into force on Royal Assent.

 

  • Personal Emergency Leave. All employers now must comply with this leave which allows employees up to ten days of job protected PEL in each calendar year; the first two days of PEL are to be with pay. This amendment comes into force January 1, 2018.

 

  • Doctors Notes. During the PEL the employer is prohibited from requesting doctor’s notes. After the ten day period, you may ask for a note.

 

  • Scheduling Restrictions. You will have time to prepare for these changes however Bill 148 introduces a number of restrictions on how employers can change the working hours of an employee on short notice. This includes on call, call ins, shift changes and the ability for employees to request a change to his or her work schedule or location. These amendments come into force January 1, 2019.

 

  • After five years of employment with the same employer, an employee will be entitled to three weeks of vacation time and 6% vacation pay. Most employer vacation policies may not meet this new standard. This amendment comes into force January 1, 2018.

 

  • Public Holiday Pay. The new calculation may be a windfall for many employees who do not work full schedules. The calculation is now “the wages paid to the employee in the pay period prior to the public holiday, divided by the days worked in that pay period”. This amendment comes into force January 1, 2018.

 

  • Pregnancy Leave. An employee will be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid pregnancy leave in the case of a stillbirth or miscarriage, an increase from the existing entitlement of 6 weeks. This amendment comes into force January 1, 2018.

 

  • Parental Leave. An employee will be able to take up to 61 weeks of parental leave where a pregnancy leave is also taken by the employee, or 63 weeks if no pregnancy leave is taken. This is an increase from the existing entitlement of 35 weeks if pregnancy leave is taken or 37 weeks if no pregnancy leave is taken.

 

  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Leave. A new leave related to the domestic violence or sexual assault of the employee or the employee’s child. The first five days of this leave are to be with pay. This amendment comes into force January 1, 2018.

 

  • Critical Illness Leave. A new leave to provide care and support to a critically ill adult family member and up to 37 weeks to provide care and support to a critically ill family member who is a child (under the age of 18). This amendment comes into force on Royal Assent.

 

  • Child Death Leave and Crime-Related Child Disappearance Leave. New leaves of up to 104 weeks of unpaid leave following the death of a child (regardless whether crime-related) or on the crime-related disappearance of a child. This amendment comes into force January 1, 2018.

 

  • Family Medical Leave. An employee will be entitled to a leave of up to 28 weeks in a 52 week period to provide care or support to a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks, an increase from the existing entitlement of 8 weeks. This amendment comes into force January 1, 2018.

 

 Labour Relations Act

 

There are a number of changes which will make workplaces easier to organize.  You should become familiar with all the changes but this one change below is the most controversial of all the changes.

 

  • Access to Employee List. Union drives will be easier due to Unions will be able to apply to the Board for access to a list of employees in a proposed bargaining unit for the purpose of organizing the workplace, if they have 20% of members signed up.

 

 

To learn more, contact us today at www.pivotalsolutions.com or 1-855-407-3921.

5 Best Practices for On-boarding Seasonal Workers

5 Best Practices for Onboarding Seasonal Workers

 

Whether they need to increase capacity in their retail or online store, help tax filers submit returns on time, ensure that landscape crews are properly staffed — and the list of examples goes on — businesses of all sizes rely on seasonal workers to increase capacity, meet customer expectations and maximize revenues.

 

However, despite the fact that the tenure of seasonal workers is (obviously) temporary, businesses still need to implement a formal onboarding process to ensure they meet compliance obligations, achieve administrative standards, and just as importantly: ensure that the new people on their roster are orientated and engaged. Otherwise, performance problems and excessive turnover are likely to erupt, and businesses can earn a reputation of being a less-than-great employer (to put things mildly), which makes it even tougher and costlier to recruit and retain suitable seasonal workers in the future.

 

To avoid these pitfalls, here are five proven and practical best practices for onboarding seasonal workers:

 

  1. Have an Orientation Process

 

Typically, seasonal employees are expected to make a contribution quickly — in many cases, the same day that they’re hired. While there’s nothing wrong with a short ramp-up (provided that it’s justified for the role), there should nevertheless be an orientation process in place that includes health and safety overviews, compliance obligations, reporting requirements, and so on.

 

  1. Engage from the Outset

 

Since businesses tend to hire seasonal workers when things are very busy (or just about to become very busy), there’s often a tendency to skip over what some view as optional “nice-to-have” elements of the onboarding process, such as introductions and workplace tours. However, while this may seem pragmatic, it’s counter-productive — since it can trigger disengagement from the start, and lead to turnover down the road. Making the right first impression isn’t just good manners: it’s good business.

 

  1. Empower with Necessary Tools

 

Just like their full-time counterparts, seasonal workers need required tools to do their jobs. This may include safety equipment, technology devices (e.g. corporate-supplied tablet), login credentials to access software systems, and so on. It’s vital to have these tools in place and ready for seasonal workers to hit the ground running.

 

If this isn’t possible (e.g. VoIP phones are on back order) or appropriate (e.g. training needs to take place first) then that’s fine. In these cases, businesses simply need to explain this to their seasonal workers, so that they know where they stand and what’s in store.

 

  1. Assign Mentors

 

One of the most valuable strategies for optimizing seasonal worker onboarding — and minimizing risks and costs — is assigning mentors. While it’s ideal if mentors work on the same team as mentees, if this isn’t practical then the next best option is to assign the task to individuals who can point seasonal workers in the right direction. And of course, mentors must have the right personality for this task. If they’re cynical, arrogant, hostile or just plain uninterested in the role and responsibility, then instead of helping seasonal workers they’ll end up harming them — and by extension, the organization as-a-whole.

 

  1. Pay Attention to Offboarding

 

Seasonal workers should be interviewed or surveyed (or both) when they’re offboarding. In addition to generating valuable feedback to enhance how seasonal workers are onboarded and supported, businesses can likely improve other areas as well, such as workflows, branding, and so on.

 

What’s more, a legitimate and meaningful offboarding experience — complete with a thank you card signed by the CEO, gift certificate, corporate-branded item, or some other meaningful gift or gesture — can go a long way towards encouraging talented seasonal workers to re-apply in the future, and recommending the organization to their network (both as an employer to work for, and a business to buy from).

 

Learn More

 

At PIVOTAL, we help businesses define, implement and optimize their seasonal worker onboarding strategy. In addition, our in-house recruiting experts can source and screen seasonal workers who are qualified, motivated and ready to make a contribution — whether their tenure is scheduled to last a few weeks, or several months. Indeed, many of the seasonal workers we’ve introduced to our clients are now valued full-time employees and key leaders.

 

To learn more, contact us today for your complimentary consultation.

What Employers Need to Know About Joint Health and Safety Committees

What Employers Need to Know About Joint Health and Safety Committees

 

A joint health and safety committee (JHSC) is comprised of both worker and employer representatives, who work collaboratively to improve health and safety conditions across the work environment. Typical JHSC tasks include identifying health and safety issues (occuring, alleged and potential), inspecting the workplace, raising awareness of health and safety, facilitating training, and more.

 

When is a JHSC Mandatory?

 

In Ontario, a JHSC is required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) in the following cases:

 

  • The workplace regularly employs 20 or more workers. (Note: workplaces with 6-19 workers are required to have one worker-designated health and safety representative, but not a JHSC. However, if designated substance regulations apply, or if a Director’s order has been issued under Section 33 of the OHSA, then a JHSC is required regardless of the number of workers.)
  • The workplace is a construction project at which 20 or more workers are regularly employed, and who are expected to work for at least three months.
  • The Minister of Labour has ordered the employer to create a JHSC.
  • The employer is a farming operator that regularly employs 20 or more workers who are engaged in activities related to any of the following: greenhouse duties, or the farming of poultry, cattle, hogs, dairy or mushrooms.

 

Key Employer JHSC Responsibilities

 

Employers that are required to establish a JHSC must commit to collaborating with workers, and playing an active and appropriate role in identifying, mitigating and/or eliminating workplace health and safety hazards. The Government of Ontario points out seven key ways that employers must demonstrate this commitment:

 

  1. Supporting the creation and maintenance of a JHSC where one is required under the OHSA.
  2. Choosing committee members to represent the employer on the JHSC. All such members must exercise managerial functions.
  3. Supporting and cooperating with all JHSC members to carry out designated functions.
  4. Providing the JHSC with any information related to real or potential hazards in the work environment, along with information regarding standards and practices implemented in similar industries.
  5. Promptly providing the committee with a copy of all reports or orders issued by the Ministry of Labor inspector, which arises from any work-related incident involving occupational illness, injury or death.
  6. Working closely and consulting with all JHSC members to develop and upgrade health and safety programs and policies, including those that involve training.
  1. Authorizing a JHSC member who represents workers the right to accompany a Ministry of Labour inspector during a workplace inspection.

 

Penalties for Breaching Violations

 

It is an offense for any employer, or any individual(s) acting on the employer’s behalf, to violate JHSC-related obligations. This includes giving false information, or attempting to hinder, interfere or in any other manner impede a committee member (or the committee as a whole) from carrying out appropriate duties. Note that the offending action does not necessarily need to be carried out. Merely attempting to do so may be sufficient to constitute a violation under the OHSA.

 

Penalties for such breaches, which can also include failing to comply with an order from the Ministry of Labour, may include fines of up to $25,000, and imprisonment of no more than 12 months. What’s more, employers may also be subject to additional criminal prosecution that can lead to longer jail sentences. For example, in 2016 the owner of a Toronto construction company was sentenced to 38 months in prison for a 2009 incident in which four workers died, and another was critically injured, after falling 13 stories from a scaffolding outside an apartment building.

 

Ensuring Your JHSC is Compliant & Effective

 

Obviously, ensuring worker and workplace health and safety is the right thing to do. However, many employers with good intentions nevertheless face criticisms, sanctions, fines, and in some cases more severe penalties for failing to understand all of their obligations (which constantly change), or overlooking key details (of which there are many). What’s more, the damage that a confrontational or fractured JHSC can have on management-worker relations is often severe, and may lead to a toxic workplace environment characterized by hostility and mistrust.

 

At PIVOTAL, our in-house human resource experts can help you launch a JHSC if you have recently become obligated to do so under the OHSA, or we can help you review and optimize your current JHSC  so that it is fully compliant and demonstrably effective. Contact us today for your free consultation.

3 Types of Human Resource Policies that Make or Break an “Open Office” Layout

 

In the last few years, many businesses — including high profile enterprises like Google — have said goodbye to conventional offices, and replaced them with what is known in office design circles as an “open office” layout. This is where walls and barriers are eliminated (or kept to a minimum), so that cross-functional teams can co-locate, spontaneously interact, and organically collaborate.

 

However, something unfortunate has happened on the road to open office happiness: instead of enhancing productivity and performance, and rather than bringing people together, it is DRIVING. EMPLOYEES. CRAZY. In fact, the problem has become so stressful and dysfunctional, that some businesses are reverting back to traditional layouts — including a return to what researchers at the University of Sydney discovered was, is, and probably will always be the most employee-hated member of the office furniture kingdom: cubicles.

 

Surprisingly, the root cause of this open office counter-revolution isn’t an indictment of the approach itself — because some organizations are indeed enjoying significant results. Do they have a more flexible, creative or open-minded workforce? Do they have softer bean bags and better HVAC systems? Are they just luckier?

 

None of the above. The common denominator that connects organizations that are reaping the rewards of an open office — and what separates them from their counterparts that are wondering what went wrong — isn’t a question of layout decisions. It’s largely a matter of HR policies.

 

Considering this, here are three types of HR policies that organizations that have implemented — or are thinking about implementing — an open office should adopt. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before what should be a rewarding decision turns into a regretful dilemma:

 

  1. Privacy and Confidentiality Policies

 

Team that are used to openly discussing private or confidential matters (they are not always the same thing) sometimes struggle to adapt to open office environments, where anything and everything can be overheard — even by those doing their best to avoid eavesdropping. Implementing privacy and confidentiality policies can help bridge the gap long enough for a new version of “common sense” to take root.

 

  1. Acceptable Workplace Behavior Policies

 

Pen clickers. Whistlers. LOUD TALKERS. Knuckle crackers. “Who wants a bite of my sardine and garlic submarine?” eaters. These are just some of the people who need to make adjustments in an open office layout, because sounds and smells that were previously blocked or diminished by walls and partitions, are now much more amplified — and far more annoying. Without an appropriate policy in place, instead of resolving complaints appropriately and professionally, employees who’ve reached their breaking point may take matters into their own hands and do something they and everyone else regrets — like scream, throw a laptop through a window, or quit (or all perhaps all three).

 

  1. “Heads-Down” Times

 

One of the biggest complaints that many employees have about open office layouts, is that some folks engage in non-stop gab fests. And even if most of the conversation is work related (which isn’t usually the case), it’s simply not conducive to a concentrated, focused work experience. Yes, some employees can choose to wear ear plugs or headphones. But to be fair and practical, organizations should have designated “heads-down” times — such as between 1-3pm each day — where open dialogue should be the exception rather than the norm. Colleagues that want to chat and can’t wait can do so in meeting rooms or the lunch room, etc.

 

The Bottom Line

 

An open office design isn’t just an alternative or progressive type of space configuration. In some ways, it’s a fundamentally different way of working — which means that HR policies that worked in the past don’t necessarily translate into the new environment. Updating or introducing policies to support the “new normal” is vital to ensure that the open office is an asset, instead of a liability.

 

Learn More

 

At PIVOTAL, our team of human resource experts will work closely with your leadership team to develop policies that support your people, and keep your organization stable and on the right track — not just in terms of productivity and performance, but also in terms of meeting all regulatory and compliance obligations. To learn more, contact us today.

 

 

PIVOTAL Integrated HR Solutions Expands Healthcare Recruitment Division with Acquisition of Brock Placement Group

 

Brock will operate alongside PIVOTAL’s Healthcare Recruitment Division as Part of a Larger and More Comprehensive Client-Focused Team

Mississauga, ON (July 17, 2017) —PIVOTAL Integrated HR Solutions announced today that it has acquired national recruitment firm Brock Placement Group. Brock’s founder and principal Eric Fobert has also joined PIVOTAL in a senior executive role.

The acquisition expands the knowledge capital, client and candidate networks, market presence and infrastructure of PIVOTAL’sHealthcare Recruitment Division, whichprovides healthcare organizations across the country with customized HR consulting and comprehensive permanent placement solutions.

Brock Placement Group, which has been a premier Canadian recruitment organization for nearly 20 years, will retain its brand name and operate alongside PIVOTAL’s Healthcare Recruitment Division as part of a larger and more comprehensive client-focused team.

“I have known Eric for several years and his acclaimed reputation as an expert andvisionary inthe recruiting and talent management space is well earned,” commented Byron Goodwin, Manager of PIVOTAL’s Healthcare Recruitment Division. “We are thrilled to welcome him to our team and look forward to a dynamic relationship that drives client value and consistently exceeds expectations.”

“This partnership between Pivotal and Brock enables us to provide broader and more comprehensive solutions for healthcare organizations,” commented Eric Fobert. “Few firms in the industry can say they offer scaled permanent placement, temporary staffing, HR consulting and payroll support to meet their clients’ needs.PIVOTAL has been an industry leader for decades, and now we are poised to take things to a whole new level.”

 

About PIVOTAL Integrated HR Solutions

PIVOTAL Integrated HR Solutions has over 30 years of experience as a leading provider of broad-based HR services to small and mid-sized organizations. We partner with clients to provide outsourced HR, Payroll, Staffing and Recruitment solutions to meet the Human Capital demands of today’s business environment. Our goal is to provide flexible people solutions that help organizations achieve a competitive advantage from their workforce. Learn more at http://www.pivotalsolutions.com.