HR – Notes from the Field

Issue 2.2019

As anticipated, Bill 2 received royal assent in July 2019 and came into effect on September 1, 2019.  As an employer there are some important revisions you should be aware of related to general holiday pay, banked overtime and the minimum wage.

We recommend reviewing your policies and handbooks and making the revisions applicable based on these legislative changes.

Overtime Changes

Effective September 1, 2019, employers will have the option of banking overtime as “straight time”, that is 1:1.  One hour of banked time, to be used for time off at regular pay, for every hour of overtime worked. Overtime hours that were earned, and have not been paid, provided or taken before September 1st will need to be used according to the terms under which they were accrued, paid or taken at a minimum of 1.5x per hour worked. Any current overtime agreements, including applicable collective agreements will remain in effect unless specifically amended to reflect new terms.

We recommend that you review all current agreements. If you intend to change the way you accrue overtime, appropriately amend agreements, or in the absence of an agreement, communicate the change clearly to your employees

General Holiday Pay

Changes under Bill 2 reverse many of the changes implemented in 2018. Notably, employees will be required to work for the same employer for 30 working days in the 12 months preceding the general holiday in order to be eligible for holiday pay.  If the general holiday falls on a day that would not normally have been a workday for an employee, they are not eligible for holiday pay. In the case of an irregular work schedule, an employee is only eligible for holiday pay if they have worked on that day of the week on which the holiday falls five (5) out of the preceding nine (9) weeks.

Minimum Wage Changes

In addition, under Bill 2 effective June 26, 2019, minimum wage for students under 18, who work up to 28 hours/week, will be reduced to $13/hour when school is in session or for all hours worked when on school break.  If a student works in excess of 28 hours when school is in session, they must be paid $15/hour for the excess hours.

Organization Assessment

Organization Restoration ModelOrganization assessment and restoration has been an important issue for many of Cenera’s clients this year. The assessment process is the first step in evoking change in performance, trust, behaviours, engagement, conflict, culture or leadership approach. As an external provider Cenera is able to use our bird’s eye view to conduct unbiased assessment of your organization. Working with our clients we pinpoint issues, and design interventions to achieve the desired improvement. This is especially helpful when:

  • An organization has undergone significant change, leading to confusion, disruption, low morale and high turnover.
  • The workplace has become toxic.
  • A workplace investigation has been completed, and the workplace needs to be restored.
  • An organization recognizes that there are issues but doesn’t have the capacity to address them.

We’d be happy to discuss our assessment and restoration process with you!

Issue 1.2019

Domestic Violence and Respectful Workplace

The 2018 updates to the Occupational Health and Safety Code (the Code) included a section on an employer’s responsibility related to domestic violence. The wording from the Code is as follows:

“When an employer is aware that a worker is or is likely to be exposed to domestic violence at a work site, the employer must take reasonable precautions to protect the worker and any other persons at the work site likely to be affected.”

We recommend adding a section to your Respectful Workplace policy that includes wording to that effect, along with a statement about the employer providing appropriate and confidential support to the affected employee.

Additionally, we’ve realized that many employers are unaware that the 2018 additions to Employment Standards included an unpaid domestic violence leave of up to 10 days at a time.  https://www.alberta.ca/domestic-violence-leave.aspx

Harassment Prevention Plan

Many of our clients have successfully created or updated their Respectful Workplace policies to reflect the 2018 OHS legislative changes. They have also incorporated Respectful Workplace training throughout the organization per the legislative requirement.  It is important to note that in addition to your policy and training you require an harassment prevention plan which includes procedures.  Significant detail is outlined in the OHS Code.  We’re including the wording here for you:

390.4 (1) An employer must develop and implement a harassment prevention plan that includes a harassment prevention policy and harassment prevention procedures.

390.4 (2) The employer must develop and implement the harassment prevention plan in consultation with

(a) The joint work site health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, if the employer is required to establish a committee or designate a representative, or

(b) Affected workers, if the employer is not required to establish a committee or designate a representative.

Did you know that Cenera provides OHS Support through our extremely qualified roster of Associates?  We can assist with JHSC creation, management and OHS assessments and policy creation.

Alcohol and Drug Policy

Many of you have been updating your Alcohol and Drug Policies to include cannabis, both medical and recreational. Another area that has seen some change relates to accommodation of addiction or dependency as an illness. We’ve seen this type of clause become more prevalent following the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp. (2017). It actually provides a level of protection for employers. We suggest you include a clause like the one below in your Policy.

The Duty to Accommodate extends only so far as the employer has been made aware of the obligation.  An employee who has a dependency on alcohol or drugs who does not disclose such dependency to the employer will be held accountable for any violations of the policy, whether or not the violation was related to dependency.  Post incident disclosure of dependency will not preclude disciplinary action on the basis of policy violation.

Please note that the information contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. Should you choose to reach out to Cenera we would be happy to provide advice specific to your situation.

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