In order to raise awareness about workplace rights and responsibilities, the Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government will be releasing a series of information bulletins and factsheets this week as Labour Day approaches. This is the third in the series.
VICTORIA - What do serving drinks, preparing desserts, changing hotel linens and checking in guests have in common? They're all duties carried out by our province's hospitality workers.
More than 163,000 people were employed in B.C.'s accommodation, food and beverage industry last month. With that many people working hard to keep our restaurants running and our tourism industry in high gear, it's important that both employees and employers are equipped with knowledge of their workplace rights and responsibilities.
Did you know?
The Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum standards that apply to most non-unionized workplaces in B.C. The act covers wages, hours of work, breaks, allowable deductions, termination of employment and leaves of absence. Here's some information both employees and employers can use:
- If employees are required to wear a uniform identifying the place of business, it must be provided, cleaned and maintained by the employer. A standard look, such as white shirt and black pants, is a dress code and is not considered to be a uniform.
- Work scheduling is at the discretion of the employer. Employees must be given at least eight hours between shifts, except in the event of an emergency. If an employee is working a split shift, it must be completed within twelve hours of starting the shift.
- Employees who show up for work but are sent home are entitled to two hours of pay. If the employee was scheduled for more than eight hours, he or she is entitled to four hours of pay. However, if an employee reports to work but is not fit to work, minimum daily pay does not apply.
- The liquor server minimum wage rate of $9.00/hour applies to people who serve liquor directly to customers as part of their job duties. Hostesses, kitchen staff, bartenders who mix drinks only and other staff who do not serve liquor must be paid the general minimum wage of $10.25/hour.
- "Tip pooling" is a common practice, generally used to share tips between all staff - this practice is not prohibited by the act.
- Employees cannot be required to pay for any portion of the employer's business costs, neither out of their wages nor out of the "tip pool". This includes breakage, till shortages and "dine-and-dash" events.
The Employment Standards Branch responds to more than 100,000 assistance requests from employers and workers every year through the toll-free information line.
Workers and employers are encouraged to resolve disputes through the use of a self-help kit. The self-help kit is not required in certain circumstances, such as for workers under the age of 19 or employees who have language or comprehension difficulties. More information is available at: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/facshts/shk-employer.htm
If the use of the self-help kit does not resolve the dispute, a complaint can be filed. A good portion of complaints are resolved through education with the assistance of Employment Standards Branch staff. Unionized workers can rely on the grievance procedure contained in their collective agreement.
If you have questions about employment standards, you can visit one of the nine branches throughout the province, call 1 800 663-3316 or go online: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/ Fact sheets on selected topics are also available in English, French, Chinese, Punjabi, Hindi, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Spanish.
Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government