For the next month, British Columbians are invited to share their views before government makes changes to B.C.’s Employment Standards Act.
This act, which is the law that sets minimum standards for workplaces in the province, was last comprehensively reviewed by government in 1994. Since then, technology has significantly changed workplaces. There are new technologies that drive how and where people work, many more part-time employees and many more people working remotely, from home or on virtual teams.
To reflect modern workplaces and to ensure that employment standards are evenly applied and enforced, the Ministry of Labour intends to make changes to the act as early as this spring.
The BC Law Institute has carried out the Employment Standards Reform Project, which included a public consultation and a final report that outlines a set of recommendations. In addition, the Ministry of Labour has heard from workers, employers and groups, such as the BC Employment Standards Coalition and BC Federation of Labour.
Through this feedback, as well as a review of what is in place in other jurisdictions, there are several areas where government is considering improvements.
The Ministry of Labour wants to hear from the public on the first areas of focus under consideration. A consultation paper outlines six themes:
- Theme 1 – Increasing protection of child workers
- Theme 2 – Transforming the Employment Standards Branch
- Theme 3 – Supporting families through difficult times with job-protected leaves of absence
- Theme 4 – Strengthening workers’ ability to recover wages/monies owed
- Theme 5 – Clarifying hours of work and overtime standards
- Theme 6 – Improving fairness for terminated workers