New ESA Obligations now in Force

Bill 148, which makes a number of amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), the Labour Relations Act, 1995, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) received Royal Assent on November 27, 2017. This article will address the timeline of the coming into force of Bill 148’s main amendments to the ESA and the OSHA.

November 27, 2017:  Employers are now prohibited from treating a person who is their employee as if the person were not an employee under the ESA. The OHSA was amended that same day to prohibit an employer from requiring a worker to wear footwear with an elevated heel, unless it is required for the worker to perform his or her work safely.

December 3, 2017:  The length of parental leave entitlement for employees was increased to 61 and 63 weeks.

January 1, 2018:  The minimum wage was increased to $14.00 per hour, subject to certain employee exceptions.

All employees are now entitled to 10 days of personal emergency leave, two of which must be paid.

Employees whose period of employment is five years or more are now entitled to a minimum of three weeks of vacation per year.

Employees are now entitled to 12 weeks of pregnancy leave, instead of six weeks, in certain circumstances.

Employees are now entitled to up to 15 weeks of domestic or sexual violence leave for which the first five days are paid, under certain circumstances.

Certain rules regarding the calculation of overtime for employees who have two or more regular rates, and for the calculation of public holiday pay, are now into force.

Entitlements to family medical leave to support to any critically ill family member are now increased to 28 weeks.

April 1, 2018:  The new Equal Pay for Equal Work provisions will come into force.

January 1, 2019:  The minimum wage will be increased to $15.00, subject to certain exempted employees, and will be subject to an annual inflation adjustment on October 1st of every year, starting in 2019.

Certain requirements to provide employees a minimum of three hours’ pay for shifts that are under three hours, as minimum pay for being on call, and in the event of cancellation of a shift with insufficient notice, come into force.

Employees will be permitted to refuse requests or demands to work on a day that they were not scheduled to work with insufficient notice.

Employees will be permitted to request changes to their schedule or work location and employers who receive these requests will be required to discuss them with the employee, and either grant them or provide reasons for a denial.

Bill 148 will implement a number of new requirements gradually throughout the year which will apply most provincially-regulated workplaces. Employers may wish to review their policies closely to ensure compliance with these new obligations.