There has been some news that a number of changes to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) have started on September 1, 2019. This comes after the Canadian government recently stated a number of amendments from Bill C-63, Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2, and Bill C-86, Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2. These legislation amendments will affect the rights and responsibilities of an estimated 900,000 federal employees and about 18,000 federally regulated employers.

These specific amendments relate to Part III of the Code, the labour standards that are related to many different topics from vacations, breaks, leaves of absences, holiday pay, scheduling, and more.

Note-Worthy Amendments

Some of the main note-worthy changes include the following.

Vacation Entitlements

Federal employees will now be entitled to 3 weeks and 6% vacation pay after just 5 years of employment, instead of after 6 years. There is also a new entitlement of 4 weeks and 8% vacation pay after 10 years. Vacation entitlements after 1 year will not change.

Breaks

Employees will now be entitled to at least 30 minutes of an unpaid break for every 5 hours of consecutive work.

Medical Breaks

Employers will now be required to allow employees to take any breaks related to medical reasons freely, unpaid.

Eight-Hour Rest Periods

Employers must now give employees a minimum of 8 consecutive hours of rest between work shifts.

Personal Leave

After 3 consecutive months of continuous employment, employers must allow employees to take up to 5 personal leave days per calendar year, including 3 days with regular pay.

Leave for Aboriginal Practices

Aboriginal employees will now be entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave to participate in traditional Aboriginal practices each calendar year once they have completed at least 3 consecutive months of continuous employment.

Family Violence Leave

Employers will now have to give employees up to 10 days of leave each calendar year if they or their child is a family violence victim. If the employee has been working for at least 3 consecutive months of continuous employment, the first five days of those 10 are paid.

Holiday Pay

All employees will now be entitled to holiday pay right away without having the 30-day length of service requirement.

Advance Notice of Schedules

Employers must now provide employees with 96 hours of notice of an employee’s work schedule in writing, and employees are entitled to refuse any work shifts scheduled less than 96 hours from when employees receive it.

Shift Changes

Employers are now required to give employees 24 hours notice in writing of any addition or changes to work shifts, with some limited exemptions for emergencies.

Overtime Refusal

If employees have certain family responsibilities, they are entitled to refuse overtime work. There are some limited exemptions for emergencies on this amendment as well.

Right to Request Flex Work

Employees will be entitled to request changes to work schedules, location, hours, or other terms and conditions after they have worked at least 6 months of consecutive months of employment. Employers are allowed to refuse such requests, but only for specific reasons.

Required Notice for Termination & Severance

Employers are now required to give new amounts of notice for employee terminations and severance. The new amounts are stated below.

Time of Continuous Employment Notice Required
3 consecutive months 2 weeks
3 consecutive years 3 weeks
4 consecutive years 4 weeks
5 consecutive years 5 weeks
6 consecutive years 6 weeks
7 consecutive years 7 weeks
8 or more consecutive years 8 weeks

Consult Legal Professionals at HOM-Law

If you are a federal employer or a federal employee and have questions about these amendments, we advise that you speak to a legal professional in order to properly answer any questions that you may have. Contact HOM-Law today for a free consultation!

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