In a move sure to please business owners and employers, Doug Ford has vowed to “scrap” Bill 148. As reported previously in the Pivotal HR Blog (“Struggling with new guidelines?”), Payroll and HR Managers, business owners and stakeholders were asking the government to put the brakes on the plan due to costs, competitiveness issues, and complexity of implementation.
“We’re getting rid of Bill 148,” said the Premier in the legislature. “We’re going to make sure we’re competitive around the world.”
The Financial Accountability Office — the Ontario watchdog — had estimated last year that 50,000 people would lose their jobs if Bill 148 fully implemented. Businesses also complained about the difficulty of implementing significant payroll change.
Outsourced Payroll Management will make adapting easier
Companies who outsource Payroll Management will likely adjust to the sudden changes without difficulty. Large companies that do not outsource — who have spent many hours getting read for Bill 148 — will have the most problem pivoting with this significant change.
Companies with outsourced suppliers of Payroll Management, regardless of size, will have little trouble adapting.
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Why businesses will be happy
Aside from the impact on business, the consensus was the rules were too complicated to implement by January 2019. Now, the entire program may be scrapped, according to the Premier.
The move is likely to please businesses concerned over the costs or complexity of implementation but is unlikely to be popular with labour groups who worked with the previous government to craft the new rules and minimum wage requirements. The main issue is competitiveness, especially rules such as par pay for part-time and temporary workers with full-time employees.
The management issues included changes to vacation entitlements and special requirements such as shift cancellation minimum payments, changes to personal emergency leave, and vacations. Companies who have already begun implementation, in preparation for January 2019, may have to revert to previous standards for now.
“Bottom line, it’s an absolute job-killer,” said the Premier of Bill 148. “We want to create more jobs for everyone right across the sector.”
The NDP leader Andrea Horwath, meanwhile, asked whether this meant Bill 148 is repealed or replaced. If repealed, she indicated it would make things difficult for employees.
John Fraser, the interim Liberal leader — the party that brought in Bill 148 while in power — more emphatically condemned the lack of clarity: “It does a disservice to the office to not fully consider the direction you’re going in.”
Rocco Rossi, president of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, was more positive on the move. “The very real unintended consequences (of Bill 148) have forced our members to decrease product offerings and increase the price of products being sold, hire fewer employees, reduce services and hours of operation, cut back on employee benefits, and halt capital investment — all in an effort to stay afloat.”