Both Alberta and Ontario have recently begun to overhaul their Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA). For Ontario, these changes may not be as pressing as they are for Alberta, who hasn’t substantially reviewed or updated their Acts since 1988. Nevertheless, both provinces’ residents seem to have the same issues with the changes – the lack of time to prepare for them.
The proposals themselves are not bad, but they have the potential to cause negative repercussions if employers don’t have time to adjust to them in an effective and healthy way. In order to better examine the issues at hand, let’s look at some of the proposed changes:
What does this mean for employers?
This is the question that many people have been asking. In theory the proposals sound great, but what about small business who may not be able to afford hiring as many employees as they require given the minimum wage increase? And leaves without doctor’s notes are nice… until employers have difficulty tracking employee attendance and have no way of making sure that the employee absence is justified.
When it comes down to it, these kinds of changes are bound to cause some dispute. Generally, employers may just need more time to strategize how they’re going to adjust. Inevitably, systems and procedures in workplaces will have to be changed in order to meet the new legislation.
What employers can do
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for employers to follow in preparing for these changes. Depending on your resources in house, employers will have to customize their approach to this change, but there are some general steps to take in starting this process:
1. Do your research and understand the changes
This topic has been covered by a lot of media and is also available on the Government of Ontario website. As an employer, it is a good idea to do your research and really understand what the changes are. Make sure you are reading updated information as there were articles issued before the Government announced the actual revision plans.
2. Review and update your current policies and procedures
The best way to understand what these changes will mean for your company is to review your current processes and identify what areas will or are likely to be affected by the new legislation. This will help you to be organized and aware of the changes you’ll need to make moving forward.
3. Talk to your employees about the changes and how they’ll be implemented
An effective way to ensure that these changes do not negatively affect workplace culture is to communicate with employees about the situation and what your approach will be in making the revisions. Because the media is covering this topic, employees are likely to be receiving a lot of information that can be overwhelming and unclear. Creating an open dialogue with employees and keeping them informed ensures that everyone in the workplace is on the same page.
4. Try to make the transition gradual
It’s hard on everyone, employers and workers, to have drastic change in the workplace overnight. It is best to strategize on how the changes you need to make can be implemented gradually instead of all at once. This makes the entire process less stressful for you and the employees.
At Clear Path, we are happy to help you with policy development and strategies on how to implement these new legislative changes. Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin, Clear Path’s President for information on how we can assist you in this process.
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