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Navigating Employee Accommodations in the Post-Pandemic WorkplaceBack to Sweaters, School, and the Office – Oh My! 

For many, September marks the start of a new year. Yes, yes, we know January is the real first month of the year but September marks the end of summer holidays, kids going back to school, and many workforces who had modified summer schedules tend to resume their regular working hours in the Fall. While these used to be pretty standard and expected changes pre-pandemic, employees are now finding these organizational shifts to be more challenging than ever. In turn, employers are facing new accommodation issues and are trying to keep up. From employees wanting to work from home to family obligations to mental health and stress, here is everything you need to know about accommodating your employees. 
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Remote and Hybrid Working ArrangementsAs SpringLaw’s Lisa Stam outlined in a recent article, since the pandemic, we’ve been seeing more workplaces shift to either a fully remote or a hybrid working arrangement. This shift brings in a whole new set of questions surrounding what employers’ obligations are to their employees working from home and what policies to have in place. Here’s the lowdown on what employers need to know about remote and hybrid working arrangements. 

What is a Remote or Hybrid Working Arrangement? 

An entirely remote working arrangement is pretty self-explanatory. Employees work from home on a full-time basis and are never required to go into an office. A hybrid working arrangement, on the other hand, has become much more common since the pandemic. It incorporates both remote and in-office work. Being a newer concept, employers are still figuring out what this arrangement looks like for their company. Some employers set the days that an employee is required to be in the office, whereas other employers will set how many days a week an employee should be in the office but the employee ultimately chooses the days. With both these working arrangements gaining popularity, it’s important for employers to be mindful of changing demands and their legal obligations to employees working from home. 
Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know about Remote and Hybrid Working Arrangements in Ontario

Employee Handbooks are an integral part of Canadian workplaces. Whether you have 10 employees or 100+ employees, you want to make sure that your Employee Handbook is up to date and current with legislative requirements under the various employment statutes. 

Why are Employee Handbooks Important? 

Your Handbook should be an easy, go-to resource for any questions your employees have about policies, conduct, compensation, time off, discipline, and who to speak to about what. A well put together Handbook ensures your employees are confident and knowledgeable about their workplace and outlines not only what is expected of your employees but also what your employees can expect from you. 
Continue Reading A Breakdown of Employee Handbooks – What’s Included and When to Update Them

Soaring Inflation Rates and Deflated Wages

As inflation rates have soared in recent months, the impact has been felt by employers and employees alike. According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s inflation rate, now at 7.7%, has skyrocketed at the fastest pace in almost 40 years. This is the highest rate since 1983. 

In an ideal world, wages would keep up with rising inflation rates. Currently, this is not the case across many industries.  

Why wages can’t keep up?

The relationship between inflation, wages and business costs is circular and intertwined. Due to inflation, both the costs of living and the costs of doing business are drastically increasing, making wage increases for many businesses challenging or, in some cases, unsustainable. If a company is able to invest in higher wages, they likely have to increase the prices of their products and/or services to account for their overhead. Thus a further increase in the cost of living.
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Dealing with both employees and employers daily, we are constantly hearing and seeing how “hot” the job market is right now. Yet employers, in particular, are finding it increasingly difficult to find workers. We are seeing this clear across the board, from the restaurant and retail industries to the corporate world. So, who is the job market “hot” for? And, how can employees and employers take advantage of this scorching time?

What’s Happening with the Job Market? 

The labour market, while hot, is also very tight right now. The unemployment rate is at an extreme low and job vacancies are at an extreme high. Why is this? COVID-19 undoubtedly changed many aspects of the way we work but one of the biggest shifts we saw was moving to remote work. This had a direct impact on the types of employment people sought out. While tech industry businesses had to staff up their growth quickly, hospitality and retail industries took a huge hit to their employment rates, with many shops and restaurants closing. With this, we’ve seen tech, financing, non-commercial real estate, and essentially any areas of work that can excel in remote work, takeoff (if managed properly).
Continue Reading Keeping Up With the Current “Hot Job Market”

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Work - what employers need to knowTo kick off the start of Pride Month in Ontario, we encourage you to make sure your workplace policies are up to date and address the important values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. While most employers know discrimination in the workplace on any protected ground within the Ontario Human Rights Code is a big no-no, equity, diversity, and inclusion may not always be top of mind in the day-to-day running of a business. Promoting these principles within your company creates a safe and welcoming workspace and promotes different perspectives, innovative ideas, and greater collaboration and is important for the retention of the talent you have.
Continue Reading Happy Pride Month! What Employers Need to Know about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Work

Disconnecting from work - the why and how for employers and employeesIn our previous blog, we discussed how employers who staff 25 or more employees must implement a written policy addressing disconnecting from work. But, what does this mean for both the employer and the employee and what are the benefits we hope to see? 

It’s no secret the pandemic has entirely changed the way we work. Our homes have become our offices which has caused a huge disruption in our work-life balance. But, the work-from-home mandate is not the only culprit for the changed relationships with our jobs. It started long before that with access to technology everywhere we go. Our work is easily accessible through our phones, tablets, laptops, and maybe even our smartwatch. We have entirely normalized being reachable and accessible at all hours of the day. With pending deadlines and timelines, we’ve seemed to adopt an “always on” approach to work where we somehow feel guilty about shutting down. 
Continue Reading Get That Spring Back in Your Step by Disconnecting