Photo Credit - Kazuend

Photo Credit – Kazuend

This is the third post in my series about the proposed Bill 148 legislative changes. In this post I discuss changes related to scheduling, leaves and vacations.   

Under the proposed changes employees will have the right to increased workplace flexibility and increased leave entitlements. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of these expected changes.

Scheduling

After three months of continuous employment, an employee can request a schedule or location change without fear of reprisal. If the employer wants to deny the request, they are required to provide reasons for the denial. A discussion of the request with the employee is mandated in any case.

Vacation Entitlement

Under the current Employment Standards Act, 2000 employees are entitled to a minimum of two weeks vacation, regardless of seniority. Bill 148 would amend this vacation entitlement provision to increase entitlement to three weeks for employees with five or more years of service to the employer.

Leaves of Absence

The Bill proposes increased entitlements to various forms of leave. Unpaid family medical leave would be increased from up to eight weeks in a 26-week period, to 27 weeks in 52 week period.

A proposed new section of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 would establish an unpaid leave of up to 104 weeks in the event of the death of a child. Under the current version of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 the employee’s entitlement to leave ends, rather harshly, at the end of the week in which the child dies.

The current 52 week entitlement to leave for the crime related disappearance of a child would also increase to 104 weeks. Presently there is a 104 week entitlement where a child dies as a result of a crime.

Personal Emergency Leave

Under the current version of the Employment Standards Act, 2000, personal emergency leave is required to be provided only by employers with 50 or more employees. The changes proposed by Bill 148 would make this leave available to all employees, regardless of employer size. The leave entitlement would include the first two days of the present ten day entitlement be paid days.

Personal emergency leaves can only be taken for a prescribed list of reasons. These include death, illness, injury, or medical emergency related to the individual, an immediate family member, or a dependant family member. The Bill would expand the current list of reasons to include the individual or a family member experiencing sexual or domestic violence, or the threat of sexual or domestic violence.

While employers can ask for evidence to support an employee’s personal emergency leave, they will not be permitted to require a certificate from a qualified health practitioner.

Public Holidays

Under the proposed amendments, Family Day, as an official public holiday, will move from O. Reg 185/01 to be included under the definition of Public Holiday in the Employment Standards Act, 2000. It will continue to fall on the third Monday in February. The rules about public holiday pay are also proposed to change with respect to how the pay is calculated, and with respect to the substitution of a different day off for the public holiday.

In my next post I will cover more of the proposed changes, including those related to unionized or union vulnerable workplaces.