We have to act fast to get amendments that will strengthen Bill 18 for all workers.
As expected, Bill 18 – the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 is moving very quickly. It was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government on Tuesday, and hearings will take place on Thursday, October 30. Any amendments must be secured by 1:00 pm on Friday, October 31.
In particular, we need to ask Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to amend Bill 18 so that the temporary agency and the client company (where workers are assigned), are both responsible for all employment standards. This measure would make it easier for workers to enforce their workplace rights. As it stands, workers are often caught in the middle trying to enforce their rights under the Employment Standards Act.
Although Bill 18 takes important steps forward by making the temp agency and client company jointly responsible for unpaid wages and overtime pay, and also makes the client company responsible under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act when workers are injured, such joint responsibility should be extended further for other crucial workplace entitlements.
For example, a 2013 Ministry of Labour inspection blitz of temporary help agencies found that 70% of employers had monetary violations, and the most common violation was unpaid public holiday pay.
Finally, we need to ask Minister Flynn to eliminate the six-month grace period that is currently provided in Bill 18 before certain wage theft provisions take effect. Specifically, Bill 18 provides a six-month implementation delay on removing the $10,000 cap on unpaid wages recoverable under the ESA and on extending the claims period to two years. Workers should not have to wait an additional six months before they can start claiming the full amount of their unpaid wages. Six extra months of limited liability for unpaid wages allows some employers to undercut their competitors by not paying their workers.
We need your help!
Click here to send an email to Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and ask him to prioritize these two key amendments to Bill 18 that will help workers receive fair wages.
Stay tuned , we will keep you posted on Bill 18.
To read more about Bill 18 click here.