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Regulations Clarify Application of Bill 148 Changes to Construction Employees

December 20, 2017

Regulations Clarify Application of Bill 148 Changes to Construction Employees 

On December 18, 2017, a number of new regulations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41 (“ESA”) were filed. Among these regulations is O. Reg. 526/17: Exemptions, Special Rules and Establishment of Minimum Wage, amending and renaming O. Reg. 285/01, and which will affect the application of some of the amendments recently made to the ESA by Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. O. Reg. 526/17 introduces the following changes which will impact construction employers:

  • Personal Emergency Leave: As a result of Bill 148, the first two emergency days taken by an employee must be paid (after the employee has worked for employer for one week). O. Reg. 526/17 modifies the application of this requirement to construction employees. A construction employee who receives 0.8% or more of his/her hourly wages for personal emergency pay is not entitled to the two paid personal emergency leave days under the ESA, but will be entitled to 10 unpaid leave days in each calendar year. Effective January 1, 2018.
  • Public Holidays: Bill 148 has introduced a simplified calculation for public holiday pay wherein public holiday pay is calculated by dividing an employee’s total wages earned in a pay period by the number of days worked in that pay period. O. Reg. 526/17 has clarified that Part X of the ESA, which addresses all obligations with respect to public holidays, including the requirement that employers pay public holiday pay, will not apply to construction employees if: (a) the employee’s period of employment is less than five years and the employee receives 7.7 % or more of his or her hourly rate or wages for vacation pay or holiday pay; or (b) the employee’s period of employment is five years or more and the employee receives 9.7 % or more of his or her hourly rate or wages for vacation pay or holiday pay. Effective January 1, 2018.

Other exemptions under O. Reg. 285/01 applicable to construction employees will remain the same, meaning that such employees continue to be exempt from the application of sections 17, 18, and 19 of the ESA, which address hours of work. The limits established in the ESA with respect to the daily and weekly limits on hours of work, daily rest periods, time off between shifts, and weekly/bi-weekly rest periods consequently continue to be inapplicable to construction employees.
If you have any questions regarding the impact of any changes to Ontario’s workplace laws, or steps you can take to reduce their impact, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer
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