Penalties, changes to overtime and scheduling part of revisions to Act
Greater flexibility for scheduling and overtime, fewer regulations, and mandatory penalties are just a few of the changes to the Employment Standards Act and Regulation that come into effect on Nov. 30.
"These changes modernize and simplify B.C.s rules, making them more consistent with other jurisdictions," said Skills Development and Labour Minister Graham Bruce.
"Employees and employers want to negotiate improved workplace arrangements, and our legislation allows them to do that, which will create jobs and revitalize the economy."
One of the most progressive changes to the Act is the recognition that different jobs require different schedules eight hour days, five days a week is not always practical for employers and employees.
Under the new act, companies and their employees can agree to work schedules that average out hours over periods of up to four weeks, providing they dont work more than 12 hours in a day or more than an average of 40 hours a week.
For example, an employee can work extra hours in exchange for paid time off during the same week without having to be paid overtime for hours worked on the long day.
Overtime is payable after eight hours a day if the hours have been added to an employees schedule, or if an employee works more than an average of 40 hours a week over the averaging period.
Averaging agreements must be in writing, specifying a start date and an end date. Both the employer and employee have to sign the agreement before the start date.
In addition, the agreement must include the specifics how many weeks will be averaged in the schedule, the hours to be worked each day, and the number of times the agreement will be repeated. The employee will be given a copy of the agreement.
Employees who sign an averaging agreement will still be eligible for overtime pay (time and a half) if they work more hours than were scheduled in the agreement, and double time if they work more than 12 hours in a day.
Another change to the Employee Standards Act is a simplification of overtime rules. Overtime for most employees in B.C. is time-and-a-half after eight hours in a day or 40 hours a week, and double-time after 12 hours worked in a day.
In addition, special overtime rules have been set for sectors with unique demands, including the transportation, silviculture, agriculture, and oil and gas industries.
Rules regarding statutory holiday pay have also been changed. Only workers that have been employed for 30 calendar days, and have worked 15 of those days, will be eligible for statutory holiday pay. Holiday pay is time-and-a-half for the first 12 hours, and double-time after that. Employers also have to pay employees an average days pay, or give employees a paid day off.