The BC NDP is close to forming a minority government in BC and they have big plans for workplaces. Following the Alberta NDP and Kathleen Wynne’s government changes in Ontario, the NDP will be announcing new Employment Standards legislation that will affect every employee and workplace in BC.
The start will be introducing 13 statutory holidays, adding Easter Monday, National Aboriginal Day and Boxing day. This combined with doing away with waiting periods for statutory holidays, changes to overtime, on-call and work schedules will mean an increase in costs for almost all businesses of 5-10%.
Raises to the minimum wage will be to $15 an hour for everyone including alcohol servers, while the cost of scheduling employees for shifts will also increase through new minimum pay requirements. Studies in the US show that increases in the minimum wage greatly increase the chance that 3.5 star restaurants will close. Spinnakers Brew Pub (BC’s first and oldest brew pub), Swans, and Canoe Brewpub, are three of my favorite local restaurants and all are 3.5 stars on Yelp. These and many other businesses may have difficulty passing their costs on to customers.
However, there will be lots of time for beer drinking with a new 35 hour work week and 7 hour work day, meaning happy hour will start early in BC. Alberta has a 44 hour work week, by comparison to BC’s current 40 hour work week.
Increases in prices will be the norm and I personally don’t mind paying more for a beer, especially if goes to a great local company and good service. On the other hand, I have always hated paying for a $10 beer at an arena or airport watching the Canucks and Maple Leafs, with terrible service which may result from employers having to contain costs.
Change is often good and for most people earning minimum wage, an increase in pay is very important. The rate of change we are seeing in tourism, retail, and transportation imposed by AirBnB, Amazon, Uber and others could also create a perfect storm. I hope these changes help employers and employees facing these challenges and don’t eliminate any jobs or businesses.
Some highlights regarding the upcoming legislation:
- Raise the statutory holidays to 13 statutory holidays, adding Easter Monday, National Aboriginal Day and Boxing day
- No waiting period for statutory holidays, if hired December 20th an employee will receive full pay for Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day.
- The minimum wage of $14 an hour by January 1, 2018 and $15 an hour January 1, 2019 with no exemption for Liquor Servers.
- Section 31 – Shifts will have to be scheduled 48 hours in advance and any changes will be considered overtime.
- Section 32 – If an employee works during their lunch break it will be overtime and there must be two paid rest breaks if a shift is 7 hours or longer.
- Section 34 – Minimum hours will increase to 4 hours if an employee starts work and 2 hours if the report to work but do not start.
- Temporary Foreign Workers will be guaranteed 35 hours a week.
- Section 35 – 7 hours a day and a 35 hour work week will be a regular week and no employee shall work more than 44 hours. Overtime of 1.5X will be owning after 7 hours.
- Section 36 – Employees must have 36 hours free from work each week or be paid 2X Wage and after 11 hours of work in a day.
Kael Campbell is President and Lead Recruiter of Red Seal Recruiting Solutions, a company providing recruitment services in mining, equipment and plant maintenance, utilities, manufacturing, construction, and transportation. When he is not recruiting, Kael spends as much time as possible with family in the great outdoors and on the water. He volunteers his time as a Board Member of the Entrepreneurs Organization of Victoria and a Member of Victoria Marine Search and Rescue.
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