Bill 148

Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 was approved on November 27, 2017. Bill 148 introduced a number of significant changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). Prior to January 1, 2018, Colleges had been excluded from many sections of the ESA, as part of crown employer exemptions. Some of the changes came into effect on January 1, 2018, and some provisions will take effect later in 2018 or in 2019/20.

The legislation stipulates a number of requirements relating to various employment practices, such as: hours of work, overtime, holiday pay, minimum wage, vacation pay/time, scheduling, personal emergency leave days, record keeping, equal pay for equal work, pregnancy & parental leave and new leaves of absences.

We will endeavor to provide information and updates as provisions of Bill 148 are implemented by posting these updates on this page.

Should you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the HR team. A copy of the ESA poster can be accessed here for your reference.



Recent Bill 148 Updates

Posted: April 12, 2018
Category: Equal Pay for Equal Work

Equal Pay for Equal Work Q&A

What is equal work?

Equal pay for equal work applies when there is “equal work” meaning the employees perform substantially the same kind of work in the same establishment, the work requires substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions.  All of these conditions must be met for equal pay for equal work to be required.

What does skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions refer to?
  • Skill means the amount of knowledge, physical skill or motor skills needed to perform a job. This includes:
    • Education, like post-secondary degrees and diplomas
    • Training, like apprenticeships
    • Experience, like the number of years required to master a skill or gain expertise
    • Manual dexterity, like hand-eye coordination
  • Effort is the physical or mental effort regularly needed to perform a job.
  • Responsibility includes the number and nature of an employee’s job responsibilities, and how much accountability and authority the employee has for those responsibilities.
  • Similar working conditions include:
    • The working environment, like an office or outdoors
    • Exposure to the weather, like rain or snowstorms
    • Health and safety hazards, like exposure to chemicals or heights
How is equal pay applied?

There are several factors to consider in making a determination on how to pay employees.  EPEW requires that we pay employees of different employment status equal pay for equal work.  We can however pay different rates of pay if the difference is due to a seniority system or a merit system.

We are reviewing the requirement and our obligations and will be providing additional information.

How will this be applied to part-time and sessional faculty?

A determination has been made to pay all part-time and sessional faculty teaching post secondary and non post secondary credit courses as per the partial load grid effective April 1st, 2018.  Academic Leaders were provided specific instructions on collecting the information to assist in the implementation.

How will this be applied to partial load faculty?

Partial load faculty are part of the Academic collective agreement.  Discussions relating to this employee group will be between OPSEU and the College Employer Council.

How will this be applied to part-time support staff?

We are in the process of reviewing the requirement and our obligations as well as all part-time Support Staff positions. We expect to complete our assessment by the end of May. If there is a determination that wage rate adjustments are warranted, we will be communicating directly with the respective employees and their supervisor. Pay rates will be adjusted retroactive to April 1st.

How will this be applied to part-time support staff?

We are in the process of reviewing the requirement and our obligations as well as all part-time Support Staff positions. We expect to complete our assessment by the end of May. If there is a determination that wage rate adjustments are warranted, we will be communicating directly with the respective employees and their supervisor. Pay rates will be adjusted retroactive to April 1st.

How will bargaining for part-time Support Staff impact the EPEW requirement?

We have an obligation to be compliant with the Employment Standards requirements including the EPEW provision. It’s also important to note that at this point there isn’t a collective agreement for this employee group and therefore no provisions to address pay.

Timelines for implementation
Employee groups Timelines for implementation Comments
Part-time/Sessional faculty – who have active assignments on April 1st, 2018 May 11, 2018 Retro active to April 1, 2018
Part-time/Sessional faculty – who will have assignments in the spring/summer term May 25, 2018 Retro active to start of the assignment
Part-time Support Staff May 25, 2018 Retro active to April 1, 2018
Part-time Counsellors May 11, 2018 Retro active to April 1, 2018
Can employees ask for their position to be reviewed from an EPEW perspective?

Yes, once we have completed our assessment, employees will be able to request an EPEW review.  The process will be posted on our website in the Bill 148 section once our assessment is complete.

What if an employee disagrees with our EPEW determination?

If an employee disagrees with our response, the employee may file a claim with the Ministry of Labour

Will there be any retro-activity?

If there is a determination to change the rate of pay due to EPEW assessment it will be retro-active to April 1, 2018.

What if the employee is no longer with the organization when the final determination is made?

We will be processing retro-active payments to April 1, 2018 regardless if the employee has an active contract with the college or not.

Posted: April 3, 2018
Category: Equal Pay for Equal Work

As part of Bill 148 there is a requirement relating to “Equal Pay for Equal Work” which applies when employees perform substantially the same kind of work in the same place of employment, and the work requires substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.  All of these conditions must be met.

A difference in the rate of pay is permissible in certain circumstances specifically if it is based on any of the following criteria: a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or any other factor other than gender or employment status.

We are reviewing the requirement and our obligations as well as all part-time Support Staff positions.  We expect to complete our assessment by the end of May and if there is a determination that wage rate adjustments are warranted we will be communicating directly with the part-time staff impacted with rate adjustments retro-active to April 1, 2018.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of our HR team.

Posted: January 29, 2018
Category: Statutory Leaves

The Employment Standards Act provides job protected unpaid leaves (unless otherwise specified) for the following once the applicable criteria is met:

  • Family medical leave is up to 28 weeks in a 52-week period
  • Family Caregiver Leave – up to 8 weeks in a calendar year
  • Critical Illness Leave – up to 17 weeks within a 52-week period to care for a critically ill adult and up to 37 weeks within a 52-week period to care for a critically ill child
  • Organ Donor Leave – up to 13 weeks (In some cases, organ donor leave can be extended for up to an additional 13 weeks)
  • Reservist Leave –time necessary to engage in specific military/rescue operations
  • Child Death Leave – up to 104 weeks
  • Crime related child disappearance leave – up to 104 weeks
  • Domestic or Sexual Violence leave – provides up to 10 days and 15 weeks in a calendar year (5 days are paid)

For information on how to qualify for each of the leaves above, please refer to ESA Guide at https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0.

It is important that you contact Human Resources directly to assist you in processing this leave accordingly.

Posted: January 29, 2018
Category: Pregnancy/Parental Leave

On, December 3, 2017, amendments to the Pregnancy and Parental Leave provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) will come into force. Bill 148 amendments bring the maximum length of job protected unpaid ESA Parental leaves in line with recent changes to the Employment Insurance Act. The length of job protected unpaid Parental Leaves will increase by a total of 26 weeks. An employee who takes a Pregnancy Leave will receive a maximum of 61 weeks of Parental Leave (increased from 35 weeks) in a 78 week period (increased from 52 weeks), and employees who do not take a Pregnancy Leave will receive a maximum of 63 weeks of Parental Leave (increased from 37 weeks) in a 78 week period (increased from 52 weeks).

For all eligible employees who are entitled to Supplementary Unemployment Benefit Plan (SUB) pay and who take a leave greater than 52 weeks, the College will spread the payment that it would have paid during the 52 weeks of leave over the extended leave period taken by the employee. Please contact Human Resources if you require further information on SUB payments for extended leave periods.

Posted: January 29, 2018
Category: Vacation Pay

Part-time employees

Eligible employees will receive vacation pay of 4% of gross wages earned and 6% for employees with 5 or more years of service.  HR is in the process of determining who is eligible for 6% vacation pay and will be processing this adjustment in March, 2018 retroactive to January 1st.

Faculty vacation pay is inclusive within the hourly rate as stated in the employment letters.

Full-time employees

Full-time employees are entitled to the vacation entitlement as stipulated in the respective collective agreement or the terms and conditions of employment.

Posted: January 29, 2018
Category: Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) Days

Greater Right or Benefit

If a provision in a collective agreement or in terms and conditions of employment provide an employee a greater right or benefit than a minimum employment standard provision under the ESA the collective agreement provision will prevail.

Entitlement

Effective January 1, 2018, employees employed for greater than one week are entitled to 10 PEL days – 2 paid and 8 unpaid per calendar year for the following reasons:

  1. personal illness, injury or medical emergency
    or
  2. death, illness, injury, medical emergency or urgent matter relating to the following family members:
    • spouse (includes both married and unmarried couples, of the same or opposite genders)
    • parent, step-parent, foster parent, child, step-child, foster child, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse
    • spouse of the employee’s child
    • brother or sister of the employee
    • relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance

How to Request a Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) Day

To request a PEL day complete this form and submit to your immediate supervisor as soon as possible either prior to or following your absence.  Your supervisor will determine if your request qualifies for a PEL day.  The employee will be notified if the day qualifies or not.  Once approved the Administrative Assistant will process accordingly.

Posted: January 29, 2018
Category: Public Holidays

Part-time employees

As of January 1, 2018, eligible employees will be receiving public holiday pay for the following public holidays:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Family Day
  3. Good Friday
  4. Victoria Day
  5. Canada Day
  6. Labour Day
  7. Thanksgiving Day
  8. Christmas Day
  9. Boxing Day

Full-time employees

Full-time employees are entitled to the public holidays as stipulated in the respective collective agreement or the terms and conditions of employment.

Posted: January 29, 2018
Category: Minimum Wage

As of January 1 2018, Niagara College has increased the minimum wage rate to $14.00 per hour for student employees.

Posted: January 29, 2018
Category: Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) Days

Personal Emergency Medical Leaves (PEL) Q&A

Who is entitled to PEL days?

All employees with at least one week of service with Niagara College.

What are the reasons for which a PEL can be requested?
  1. personal illness, injury or medical emergency
    or
  2. death, illness, injury, medical emergency or an urgent matter relating to the following family members:
    • spouse (includes both married and unmarried couples, of the same or opposite genders)
    • parent, step-parent, foster parent, child, step-child, foster child, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse
    • spouse of the employee’s child
    • brother or sister of the employee
    • relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance
How many PEL days can I take?

10 PEL Days per calendar year.

How many PEL days are paid?

2 of the 10 days are paid per calendar year.

How are PEL days calculated?

Paid PEL days will be calculated as: Hours scheduled to work on the PEL day X the regular hourly rate for those hours.
Please note that the PEL days will only be paid once the department has confirmed that the PEL Request form has been completed and signed by the employee and approved by the department.

Do I have to take full days or can partial days be taken?

If you are absent for reasons approved through the PEL entitlement you will be marked for a full day regardless of whether or not, you worked some hours on the day in question. Partial days are counted as one full day. If a partial PEL day is to be paid, the PEL payment will be calculated as above for the hours absent.

If I’m covered under a collective agreement that already provides other entitlements such as sick/bereavement days, am I entitled to a PEL day?

Yes, all employees are entitled to PEL days. If, however, you have other entitlements (sick days, bereavement days) it may be taken simultaneously with a PEL day. (Please refer to question #8)

How are PEL days administered if I have entitlements through collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment?

Scenario 1
An employee with an entitlement of 10 sick days calls in sick and has not requested any previous PEL days. If the employee still has sick days in his/her sick bank the sick bank will be deducted by 1 sick day and the number of entitled PEL paid days will be reduced by 1 simultaneously.

Scenario 2
An employee’s child is hospitalized suddenly and the employee needs 1 day off from work. The employee does not have family sick day entitlements as part of his/her collective agreement or his/her terms and conditions of employment. If the employee has not used their 2 paid PEL days, they will have access to 1 paid PEL day. If paid PEL days have been used, this would qualify as an unpaid PEL day.

Where can I go for further information/clarification?

You can discuss this with your supervisor or any member of the HR Team.