Federally-regulated employers should be mindful of recent legislation which applies to the Canada Labour Code. Provisions in the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 which change sections 195 to 214 of the Canada Labour Code will come into force on September 1, 2019. The various changes to the Code have been coming into effect on staggered implementation dates, and most recently several amendments to the Code have been set for implementation on September 1, 2019.
The changes coming into force on September 1st will affect work schedules, work arrangements and types of leave. Employers can review the full list of changes to sections 195 to 214 of the Code in Bills C-63 and C-86. Key changes include:
- Employers must give employees 24 hours written notice of any changes or additions to their work schedule prior to the start of their first work period or shift, subject to certain exceptions for unforeseeable changes.
- Employees have a right to refuse overtime in order to fulfill family responsibilities, subject to exceptions for unforeseeable and necessary overtime.
- Employees have a right to request flexible work arrangements, including changes to their hours, schedule, and work location after six consecutive months of employment.
- Employees may interrupt or postpone their vacation to take a leave of absence.
- Three new types of leave are introduced: family responsibility leave, leave for victims of family violence, and leave for traditional Aboriginal practices.
- Bereavement leave is extended from three days to five days, three of which are paid if employees have worked for three consecutive months.
These amendments are intended to further extend protections for employees. Employers will want to be mindful that they do not contravene the Code, perhaps unknowingly, for example by failing to provide at least 24 hours written notice for a change to scheduling. Employers should also be aware that employees’ right to flexibility and leave has generally expanded, so employers should know the law before denying an employee’s request. As stated, the changes become law on September 1, 2019.