Question: What steps will an employer have to take with respect to employees working overtime in Ontario after Bill 63, the Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000, with respect to hours and certain other matter, comes into effect?
Bill 63 reduces the maximum number of hours an employer can require its employees to work, without the consent of that employee, from 60 hours per week, as was established in the Employment Standards Act, 2000, to 48 hours per week. Employee protection, one of the goals of Bill 63, is achieved by ensuring an employee has a real say in how many extra hours she works each week.
When passed, this legislation will obligate employers to apply to the Director of Employment Standards at the Ministry of Labour for permission to have employees work more than 48 hours per week and to obtain written consent from the employee confirming her willingness to work overtime. Prior to obtaining the employee’s consent, the employer must provide the employee with the Ministry of Labour’s information sheet that sets out the rights of the employee, including the right to refuse to work more than 48 hours and the ability to end the agreement.
Employers may submit applications by fax, mail, in person or online beginning Oct. 1, 2004, enabling approval to be achieved prior to Jan. 1, 2005 — the date this legislation is scheduled to take effect. But despite an employer obtaining an employee’s consent to work overtime and the ministry’s approval of an employer’s application, the extra hours agreement may be revoked by either the employee by giving two weeks notice or the employer by giving reasonable notice.
Peter Israel is the senior partner in the Toronto law firm of Israel Foulon LLP – Employment and Labour Lawyers. He can be reached at 416-640-1550 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A version of this article originally appeared in the Carswell publication, Canadian Employment Law Today
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