Bill 8: Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019

In review of B.C.’s Employment Standards Actthe B.C. government has updated British Columbia’s workplace legislationBill 8, the Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019, established new employee rights pertaining to certain leaves of absence. The Bill received Royal Assent on May 30, 2019, at which time these changes to the province’s minimum employment standards came into effect. 

Extended Wage Recovery Period

The period during which employees can recover unpaid wages has been increased from six months to 12 months from either the termination date or when the complaint was made, whichever is earlier.

Collective Agreements

The main elements of collective agreements must meet or exceed the requirements of their corresponding provisions in the Employment Standards Act. All new collective agreements must comply with this amendment.

Termination Pay

If an employee has provided notice of resignation and the employer dismisses the employee without cause during the resignation notice period, the employer must pay the employee an amount equal to the lesser of the balance of the resignation notice period or the employee’s minimum pay in lieu of notice pursuant to the ESA.

Restrictions on Gratuities

Unless done for the purpose of redistribution via a tip pool, employers may not make deductions from employees’ tips, withhold employees’ tips, or ask employees to return their tips.

Leaves of Absence 

The Bill introduced two new forms of leave for critical illness or injury leave and leave respecting domestic or sexual harassment. Eligible employees have entitlements to unpaid, job-protected leave.

Informing Employees

Employers will soon be required to provide employees with information about their rights under the Employment Standards Act. This information must be provided in a way that is either approved or provided by the Director of Employment Standards.

Record Keeping Period

Employers will soon be required to keep certain records for four years instead of two. This applies to payroll records, agreements of employees to clean their own work clothing as well as records of the corresponding reimbursement.

The Employment Standards Amendment Act for Small Business Owners 

What are the implications of Bill 8 for employers? As an employer, it’s important to take the proper steps in complying with the new minimum employment standards. Start by revisiting, reviewing, and revising your employee contracts and workplace policies for leaves of absences. Make sure they’re up to date. 

Do you have questions about your existing policies and practices? 

For assistance reviewing your current policies or practices or to understand how Bill 8 applies to your small business, ask a professional. Call Employer Line at 1-888-219-8767  and speak with our team of HR experts today.