Federal Government Clarifies Scheduling Requirements for On-Call Employees, Seeks Submissions on Hours of Work Requirements
Date: February 28, 2020
The federal Labour Program has been holding consultations on the scheduling and hours of work provisions in the Canada Labour Code (Code) that came into force on September 1, 2019. The first round of consultations took place in the fall of 2019.
The Code now requires federally-regulated employers to give employees their schedules at least 96 hours before the first shift and to give 24 hours’ written notice before changing or adding a shift. This created some difficulties for employers who rely on on-call employees to meet unforeseeable labour needs.
On February 22, 2020, the federal Department of Employment and Social Development announced that the Minister of Labour will not be developing new regulations to address on-call employees. The Minister has clarified that employers who use on-call arrangements can meet the scheduling requirements by including on-call periods on the schedules provided to employees 96 hours before the first shift and by adding or changing on-call periods with 24 hours’ notice.
Hours of Work Requirements
The Code now provides that employers must: (i) provide employees with the right to refuse overtime to deal with family responsibilities, (ii) give employees a 30-minute break within each five hours of work, and (iii) give eight-hour rest periods between shifts.
Currently, the Code exempts managers and designated professionals as well as unforeseeable emergencies from the application of these provisions.
The Labour Program is seeking public input on proposed regulatory exemptions and modifications to the hours of work requirements and has issued a discussion paper which outlines the issues. Interested employers that are impacted by the hours of work requirements can submit written submissions to the Labour Program no later than March 13, 2020.
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