The employment standards in Canada differ across provinces. Here we will highlight standards in British Columbia for payment, compensation and working conditions and other employment practices.
Taking time off
Employees from British Columbia are eligible to take up to 5 paid days and 3 unpaid days due to illness or injury reasons.
Employees are eligible to take vacation days with pay after one year of employment. It should be noted that employees are allowed to use vacation time to deal with unexpected situations. An employer may schedule the vacation in accordance with business needs.
These Employees can take unexpected time off. In this case, they can have time off depending on the unexpected illness or life situations, including family responsibilities. The employee can rest assured that the job is protected while on leave.
Leave of absence: The employee’s job is protected under the following circumstances:
- Illness or injury leave (sometimes called sick leave)Maternity and parental leave
- Family responsibility leave
- Compassionate care leave
- Critical illness or injury leave
- COVID-19 related leaves
- Reservists’ leave
- Leave respecting the disappearance of a child
- Leave respecting the death of a child
- Leave respecting domestic or sexual violence
- Bereavement leave
- Jury duty leave
It’s interesting to note that the employee may not always get a day off in case of a statuary holiday, but may get the statutory holiday pay
Quitting, getting fired or laid off
It’s the right of both employer and employee to end employment. However, if the employee takes the initiative to quit their job, they or wouldn’t be compensated for the length of employment.
Employers when they decide to end an employee’s job, will give written notice or pay(i.e compensation for length of service), or might combine both.
Temporary layoffs are on the condition that the employee will return to regular work. It is when the employee earns less than 50% of regular weekly wages. However, if the employee returns to work, the layoff is then the termination of employment.
Group termination is when 50 employees or more are terminated at the exact location in a 2 months period. Here employers need to give written notice to each employee terminated along with the minister of labour and any trade union representing employees.
Getting paid for work
- The payment period for employees is twice per month. The pay period can not exceed more than 16 days. The pay period should account for money earned, overtime, and statutory holiday pay. However, it does not account for annual vacation pay.
- The payment should be in Canadian Dollars and can be in the form of cash, cheque, bank draft, money order or direct deposit if a prior agreement has been made.
- At the end of employment, final wages to employees must be paid.
- Employees should get at least a minimum wage rate per hour which is $15.65 per hour.
- Even if the employee works less than two hours, they must be paid for at least two hours. This is the requirement of minimum daily pay. Record keeping of the hours worked is necessary.
- An employer can deduct money from an employee’s wages including Federal income tax, Federal Employment Insurance premiums (EI), Canada Pension Plan contributions (CPP) and A court order to garnish wages. However, business costs are not part of these deductions.
- Tips and gratuities, when collected by employers, can be shared among the employees if they had shared in earnings too.
- If employers are providing uniforms or any special clothing, employers must provide them without charging employees.
- For those employees who get statutory holiday pay, it is time-and-a-half plus an average day’s pay.
- Click here for paid time off
Employers should explain workplace standards clearly when hiring. This includes sharing the following documents with the employee:
- Working in B.C. poster (PDF, 199.7KB)
- Working in B.C. info sheet (PDF, 181.3KB)
- Foreign workers’ rights: Foreign workers info sheet (PDF, 101.7KB)
Terms and conditions of employment along with job description (though not compulsory) would also help employees be acquainted with the job. It is unethical to share false information of any sort with the employee. If done so, employers can end employment.
For hiring employees under the age of 16 or young people, the following documents for special rules must be followed:
Recruiters, if hired should be licensed by the provincial government. However, if the agency recruits for a single employer, then a license is not a requirement. Also, the agency can not ask for payment from those who are looking for work.
- Other considerations should be for:
Hiring domestic workers
Hiring farm labour workers. Their information can be found here.
- Hiring temporary foreign workers
- Hiring silviculture workers (those who help with reforestation)
We will be sharing Part 2 of Employment Standards soon.
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