Who would have thought that hiring your first employee could land you in hot water with the law! Becoming an employer is a rite of passage for businesses that need more than one person to get the job done and with that rite of passage come responsibility. Employment Standards, Human Rights, WorkSafe, Labour Code, the list goes on; so many different considerations for employers to know about and to follow. And many don’t. They started their business to do the work they are good at and becoming good at employment law, legislation and regulations typically isn’t high on their list of priorities.
So let’s make is simple for you.
Employment Standards Act: This is provincially developed and governs the basics of the employment relationship e.g. Hours of Work and Overtime, Statutory Holidays, Vacation, Termination. Employers need to meet the requirements of the ESA at a minimum and have the option of exceeding those requirements. ESA says you have to pay 4% vacation pay and you want to pay 5% – go ahead, but paying only 3% means you are not meeting the requirement.
Human Rights: This is both provincially and federally developed so you will want to become familiar with both. The Canadian Human Rights Code ensures that no one is discriminated against. Employers will want to be familiar with this code to ensure that their workplace is free from discrimination.
WorkSafe: Every province has a different name for the legislation that governs how to ensure your workplace is safe. In BC it is WorkSafe BC and the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations are important for all employers to review to ensure that the relevant components for their work environment are being met. Recently addition of Bullying and Harassment Policies to the Act has brought this up for many employers as they are not currently compliant with the 2013 legislation requirements.
Labour Code: The Labour Code is federally governed and covers unionized environments. The Labour Code and the Collective Agreement are both highly referenced in union settings.
This is just a short list of the kinds of employment related laws, regulations and legislation that you as an employer need to be aware of. When all of these are encapsulated into your Employee Handbook, Policy Manual, Employment Contracts and general operating practices, chances are you are in good standing with the law. If they aren’t, well, perhaps not.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: Take a look at the HR tools, programs and services that you offer and check for yourself. Do you know the rules and are they properly reflected? If yes, congratulations! If no, then you might want to consider some revisions. Lucky for you, you know an HR Consultant that might be able to help you with that. Feel free to give us a call!