Your Rights at Work


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Your Rights At Work (by Maureen Hynes) will help you to learn about the rules in the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that govern non-unionized workplaces in Ontario.

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Your Rights at Work

  1. 1. YOUR RIGHTS AT WORKA School of Labour Workshop Maureen Hynes 416 415 5000 x 2549
  2. 2. Outcomes(1) Explain your basic rights in the workplace(2) Take action if workplace law is broken – what to do, where to go, who to call, what risks are involved(3) Analyze the differences between unionized and non-unionized workplaces
  3. 3. 100 years ago, we didn’thave….  Laws that cover hours and minimum wages  Laws that protect children from working full-time  More equity in men’s and women’s wages  Health and Safety legislation  Unemployment Insurance  Pensions  Health insurance (OHIP) since 1966  Workers’ Compensation since 1917  Social Assistance  Unions!
  4. 4. How did we get all these laws? Activism – marches, protests, strikes, petitions, rallies Research and study Union bargaining Lobbying and advocacy Political parties took up the issues (which ones?) Press and media coverage Coalitions of church groups, community groups, unions, etc Sometimes people died to get these rights
  5. 5. Similarities: then and now Situation of children globally – where is child labour still an issue? And why? Situation of immigrant workers in Canada – “desperate for work, dared not complain, would be quickly replaced” A systemic problem that doesn’t seem to get better – perhaps even for the second generation (Stats Can, 2006)
  6. 6. Laws that protect us Ontario Human Rights Code: no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, disability, etc Employment Standards Act: covers minimum wages, hours of work, overtime, vacations and holidays, termination, etc Occupational Health & Safety Act: gives you the right to know about workplace hazards; to participate in decisions about hazards (through committees, representatives, safety inspections); and to refuse unsafe work Workplace Safety & Insurance Act: provides you with insurance payments in case of an occupational accident or injury, and some access to retraining, under conditions Ontario Labour Relations Act: protects workers who want to organize or participate in a union; covers how collective agreements must work; covers when strikes or lockouts can take place; restricts employers from unfair labour practices; makes unions represent their workers fairly) Pay Equity Act: ensures people in jobs requiring the same effort, skill, responsibilities, and conditions are paid the same
  7. 7. Employment Standards Act Minimum wage in Ontario Hours of work Overtime pay Meal breaks Public Holidays Vacations Pregnancy leave Parental leave Pay information and record keeping Termination of employment
  8. 8. 1. Minimum wages March 31 March 31 Feb 1 2008 2009 2010General $8.75 $9.50 10.25minimum wageLiquor servers $7.60 $8.25 8.90Students $8.20 $8.90 9.60under 18Homeworkers $9.63 $10.45 11.28
  9. 9. FYI, minimum wages acrossCanada…Alberta $8.00 Nunavut $8.50BC $8.00 Ontario $8.00Manitoba $8.00 PEI $7.50NB $7.25 Quebec $8.50Nfld $7.50 Sask $8.25NWT $8.25 Yukon $8.37NS $7.60
  10. 10. What do you think? Ifyou are earning minimum wage, do you have enough to live on? The next slide shows you the “Low Income Cut-Off”, that is, what you need to earn in order to be above the poverty line…
  11. 11. Before-Tax Low-Income Cut-Offs(LICOs), 2008Source: HRDC, Citizenship and Immigration Family Size Living in a Community with a population of 500,000+ 1 person $21,202 2 people $26,396 3 $32,450 4 $39,399 5 $44,686 6 $50,397 7 $56,110 More than 7, add $5,713 per person
  12. 12. 2. Hours of work Your employer cannot require you to work more than 8 hours in a day UNLESS the employer has set a longer work week; and in the case of accidents & emergencies. Not more than 48 hours a week UNLESS you give the employer permission in writing to work up to 60 hours a week. You have to be free from work:  11 consecutive hours a day  8 hours between shifts  24 consecutive hours a week, or 48 hours in 2 weeks. You can refuse to work on Sundays if you work in retail.
  13. 13. 3. Overtime pay Afterworking 44 hours in a week, you must be paid at least time-and-a-half UNLESS:  unless you have agreed, in writing, to take off one and a half hours for each hour worked  and unless you have agreed, in writing, to average your overtime pay over 4 weeks at 44 hours each week (i.e., no overtime pay until you’ve worked 176 hours). Ifyou get $8.75 an hour (minimum wage), time-and-a-half is $13.13.
  14. 14. 4. Coffee breaks & meal breaks One half hour meal break after 5 hours of work. Or, if you agree, two 15-minute breaks within the 5 hours Paid or unpaid?
  15. 15. 5. Hours of workThe “three-hour call-in” rule If your employer has you come in for your regular shift – or if the employer calls you for an extra shift - BUT then wants to send you home before your shift is over – -- then s/he must pay you a minimum of 3 hours, even if you worked fewer hours than that
  16. 16. 6. Paid Public Holidays inOntario1. New Year’s Day2. Family Day – new!3. Good Friday4. Victoria Day5. Canada Day6. Labour Day7. Thanksgiving Day8. Christmas Day9. Boxing Day
  17. 17. 7. Termination of employment Ifyour boss lets you go, s/he must give you “notice” (warning); Or if s/he doesn’t give you notice, s/he must give you the same number of weeks of pay instead, depending on how long you’ve worked there
  18. 18. 7. Termination pay Less than 3 months 0 weeks notice/pay 3-12 months  1 week’s notice or pay More than 1 year, less than 3 yrs 2 weeks More than 3 years, less than 4 3 weeks More than 4 years, less than 5 4 weeks More than 5 years, less than 6  5 weeks More than 6 years, less than 7  6 weeks More than 7 years, less than 8  7 weeks 8 years or more  8 weeks
  19. 19. 9. Pregnancy leave Ifa woman has worked 13 weeks before the baby’s due date, then she can get 17 weeks of (EI-funded) pregnancy leave (actually this works out to 15 weeks with the two-week waiting period for EI). The employer doesn’t pay the woman’s wages during pregnancy leave – Employment Insurance (EI) does.
  20. 20. 9. Parental leave A new mother or father / other parent can also get 35 or 37 weeks of PAID, JOB-PROTECTED parental leave when the baby is born or adopted – -- as long as s/he has had at least 600 hours of work in the past year, or since her last claim (e.g., 15 weeks @ 40 hours – or 30 weeks @ 20 hours). The birth mother will get 35 weeks if she’s already taken her full 17 weeks pregnancy leave; 37 weeks for the birth mother if she didn’t take the 17 weeks, or for the other parent.
  21. 21. 10. Vacations After 12 months of working in the same job or with the same employer, you get 2 weeks of vacation a year. Your employer must schedule your vacation in 1 or 2 week blocks, UNLESS you have agreed, in writing, to take shorter blocks, like one day at a time. If you leave your job before a year is up, or if are working part-time, you will probably get your vacation as 4% of your pay
  22. 22. 11. Emergency leave If you work in a workplace with more than 50 employees, you can have 10 days of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to deal with family or emergency issues. But -- only 50% of Ontarians work in companies or organizations with more than 50 employees
  23. 23. 12. Family Medical Leave As of September, 2005, you are eligible for up to 8 job-protected weeks off to care for a parent (step- parent/foster parent), spouse (including same sex spouse), or child (step-child/foster child) who is at risk of dying within 26 weeks. [list expanded Oct /06] You need to get a certificate from a “qualified health professional” You can get 6 weeks of EI “Compassionate Care” payments.
  24. 24. 13. Pay information and recordkeepingYour boss has to give you this information with your pay: The pay period The amount of any deductions Reasons for deductions Your gross pay Your net pay
  25. 25. 12. Resolving a dispute If you have a complaint about unpaid wages, you must file your complaint with the Ministry of Labour within 6 months. If your complaint is about another ESA issue, you have 2 years to file a complaint Get help when filing a complaint – call the Workers’ Action Centre 416 531 0778, or a legal clinic