In order to raise awareness about workplace rights and responsibilities, the Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government is releasing a series of information bulletins and factsheets this week as Labour Day approaches. The minister's message on Labour Day will be distributed tomorrow.
VICTORIA - The business of construction is an important driver of British Columbia's economy, with projects ranging from small home renovations to brand new office towers. One of government's goals is to create an environment where both workers and employers can prosper and grow in this important industry. However, since the size and scope of projects across the sector can vary greatly, there can sometimes be challenges in the employment relationship. Here is some information that can help both parties along the way.
Employee or contractor?
The Employment Standards Act provides minimum standards to all non-unionized employees but not to independent contractors. However, there are many misconceptions around exactly who is considered an employee. For example:
* Even if an employee signs an agreement to be called a contractor, it does not mean he or she actually is one. This is determined on a case-by-case basis by the Employment Standards Branch.
* Any agreement an employee signs to waive his or her rights under the Employment Standards Act has no effect under the act.
o For example, a worker cannot agree to be paid less than minimum wage or waive their rights to be paid overtime.
* If a worker sets his or her own hours and works independently, he or she may still be an employee.
* If a person works at more than one construction site, he or she may still be an employee.
* Does an employee get incentive pay like commission or bonuses? Being paid this way does not necessarily mean he or she is a contractor, as many employees receive incentive pay.
Want clarification on who is considered an employee or a contractor? Read more at: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/facshts/employee.htm
Overtime in construction - Did you know?
For those workers and employers whose workplaces are not covered by a collective agreement, there are specific minimum standards for overtime:
* Daily overtime is calculated before weekly overtime, even if an employee works fewer than 40 hours a week:
o For example, if an employee works more than eight hours in a day, time-and-a-half must be paid. The overtime rate rises to double time after 12 hours worked.
* If an employee works more than 40 hours a week, overtime must be paid even if he or she never worked more than eight hours a day.
o For example, the employee worked Monday to Friday for eight hours each day, then came in on Saturday for six hours. Those additional six hours must be paid at the overtime rate.
Learn more about the rules around overtime and hours of work at: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/facshts/hours_of_work_and_overtime.htm
Recent changes to workers compensation for apprentices
Government also made changes recently to help ensure our Workers Compensation Act remains responsive to the needs of both employers and workers. On July 1, 2012, changes to the Workers Compensation Act affecting compensation for apprentices came into effect. The changes strike a better balance for workers and employers by making sure injured apprentices and learners get compensation that is more fairly based on their actual loss of earnings.
More information about the changes to apprentice compensation and other recent amendments to the act is available here: http://ow.ly/dlGsr
Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect