On June 12, 2018, the National Assembly adopted amendments to the Act Respecting Labor Standards to facilitate work-family balance. Many of the changes to the Act directly affect employees. However, some aspects have a greater impact on employers.
Leave granted to employees has been the subject of several changes during the revision of labor standards. For example, paid annual vacation has been modified from two weeks to three weeks following three (3) years of continued service. In addition, two (2) days off due to illness, accident or a family obligation, must be paid. Also, the vacation pay percentage on each pay became legal as of June 12, 2018 with regard to seasonal workers.
Concerning statutory holidays, the employer now has the option of choosing between paying compensation or granting compensatory leave to an employee for whom a holiday does not coincide with a day normally worked.
Changes in labor standards have also introduced the notion of caregivers in order to accommodate employees and their families. Effective January 1, 2019, two (2) days per year will be paid to care for a close relative who has a critical illness. To be considered a caregiver, a certificate is required from a professional employee in the Health and Social Services Sector. In the event of death of a relative of the immediate family, two (2) of the five (5) days off will be paid.
According to the new revision of the Act Respecting Labor Standards, an employer does not have the right to compel his employee to work more than two (2) additional hours a day. To that effect, when an employee has not been informed at least five (5) days in advance of his work schedule, he has the right to decline work. As for alternative work schedules, it can be done over a period of four (4) weeks without exceeding ten (10) hours of work per day and there must be a written agreement between the employer and the employee.
However, there are exclusions that do not apply to student athletes, construction workers and senior managers.
In closing, the Government issued an obligation to employers to put in place a policy to prevent psychological harassment and the handling of complaints.