Employment Law in BC

Employment Law in BC 101: The Must Know Basics

I’ve had a few employers in the past, and some did not comply with the Employment Law, and, had I known my rights, the outcome of the situations I’ve been in would be a lot more favourable.

From Employment Standarts Act:

1. Minimum daily hours.

Minimum daily hours

Minimum daily hours

In other words:

If you show up to work (given that you are fit to work, e.g. sober, clean, looking presentable), and weather conditions allow you to work, but the employer decides not to work today (or if you are sent home for whatever reason), you must be paid for minimum of 2 hours if you were scheduled to work for less than 8 hours, and minimum of 4 hours, if you are scheduled to work for 8 hours or more.

Scenario: 

You are a rock-climbing instructor, who is scheduled to supervise a group of 14 year-olds for a 2-hour session. Your group goes to a Justin Bieber concert instead; your manager sends you home for a day. You must get paid for the 2 hours you were scheduled to work.

2. Hours free from work.

Hours free from work

Hours free from work

In other words:

This is fairly straightforward. The employer must not ask you to show up for work sooner than 8 hours at the end of your shift, and must give you at least 32 hours between the working weeks (unless there is an emergency). If he/she fails to do so, you must be paid 1.5 times your regular wage.

Scenario:

You work full-time for $10/hr at a pickle factory. The latest batch has oversized pickles that do not fit in the can, so you have to cut them in half. You have worked 8 hours Monday to Friday, and now you need to come to work on Saturday. You can either accept the shift at $15/hr (not more than 8 hours a day), or come to cut the pickles 32 hours later after the end of your Friday shift.

3. Statutory holidays.

Entitlement to statutory holidays
If employee required to work on a stat holiday

In other words:

If you have worked full-time for at least 15 days out of 30 days before the last stat. holiday, you must get a full-day pay for the statutory holiday if you did not work, and 1.5 times your normal pay if you have to work.

Scenario:

It’s Christmas season, you are working for a busy liquor distillation facility at $20/hr; your boss wants operate on December 26th to bottle Limited Edition Ketel One for Russian market for the New Year’s celebration. You either accept the shift at $30/hr, and get full day pay in addition to that; or decline the shift and still get a full-day pay.

4. Overtime wages.

Overtime wages

 

In other words:

If you work for more than 8 hours on one day, you will get paid extra. If you work 8-12 hours, any hour after 8th will be at a 1.5 rate of your pay, and everything else after 12 will be at double rate.

Scenario:

You are a nurse. It’s Halloween. Somebody has to take extra care of these jelly infested tummies. You are at the end of your 14-hour shift; and the only thought that keeps you warm is that you will get paid $20 x 8 + $30 x 4 + $40 x 2 for this day.

5. Liability resulting from the length of service.

Liability resulting from the length of service

Liability resulting from the length of service

In other words, in a scenario:

If you have worked for at least 3 months, your employer decides your services are no longer required. He calls you on Friday, and tells you don’t need to come to work on Monday. You must get paid for at least 1 week; unless they have notified you about your dismissal in writing a week before that. If you worked there for at least 1 year, 1 week becomes 2 weeks; and 3 weeks after 2 years. Each year worked after that adds 1 more week to the notice period; e.g. 4 weeks for after 4 years, 7 weeks after 7 years and so on (up to 8 weeks notice/pay/combination of both).

6. Vacation pay.

Vacation pay

Vacation pay

In other words:

Full-time workers must get paid for 2 weeks each year they work after working for at least 12 months full-time, and for at least 3 weeks after 3 years worked full-time.

7. Payment of interest. 

Payment of interest

Payment of interest

It other words:

If a certain amount of your pay is being withheld for whatever reason beyond your control, the employer must add a portion of interest to your pay.

Scenario:

Your employer made you work on stat. holidays with no extra pay. You decided to leave them and look for another job. They must pay you all the outstanding statutory holidays wages plus applicable interest prescribed accordingly by either when you leave, or by the time you let them know of outstanding wages.

Know your rights. Don’t let anyone take your rights away, and be treated fairly and in accordance to law. It is there to protect you and your employer. To report unfair labour practices in BC, contact Employment Standards Branch toll-free at 1-800-663-3316.
Below is a link to their website:
http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb

#minimum daily hours#statutory holidays#wages#Workers Compensation Act

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