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The Importance of Employment Law for Business Owners in Canada

Employment law is a very important part of business ownership. This law applies to both employers and employees, and it is vital for any business to follow the rules of this law. If an employee feels discriminated against or violated by the laws, they can file a complaint with Human Resources. No business owner is permitted to force an employee to break the law.

  • Fair compensation for employees who are called into work

Whether a worker is entitled to overtime compensation is a complex question. While the rules regarding the program differ from province to province, the general idea is that the program provides employees with a safety net in the case of an injury or illness at work.

  • Overtime pay

If you think you’ve been cheated out of overtime pay, you may be entitled to legal recourse. Before filing a complaint, you should review your employment contract and speak with employment lawyers. You can get a referral from your local law society. You may also qualify for legal aid or pro bono services.

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) sets a minimum wage that is sufficient to cover the time employees work beyond their regular hours. In Ontario, the threshold is forty-four hours per week. The law also establishes a 1.5x higher rate for overtime pay. However, some professions are exempt from overtime pay.

  • Leaves of absence

Leaves of absence are a legal right that business owners can use to take time off. But, it is important for business owners to make sure that they follow the proper procedures. There are many reasons an employee might want to take time off. It is important for employers to be aware of any signs of disengagement or an employee who frequently takes the day off on Mondays or Fridays. In such situations, it is vital to explain that the business cannot function without that employee’s participation.

The Government of Canada has recently made it easier for business owners to take time off. For instance, if they are facing an emergency such as a natural disaster, they can use sick leave to recover. In some provinces, business owners can also use paid sick leave. In Ontario, for example, employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer five days of sick leave to employees who have worked for the company for 90 days or more.

  • Restrictive covenants in employment agreements

If you’re a business owner in Canada, you may have questions about restrictive covenants in employment agreements. Generally, these clauses are not enforceable unless they are reasonable and in the best interest of the employer. If a business owner is unsure about the terms of an employment contract, consult with an employment lawyer.

The best advice is to make the covenants as limited as possible and as clear as possible. Employers should avoid using overly-stringent covenants as courts are unlikely to be sympathetic to employers who have overly restrictive clauses. Also, consider using plain language.

  • Common law protections for employees

Under the common law, employees have certain rights when an employer terminates their employment. This includes the right to reasonable notice and pay-in-lieu of notice. The minimum notice period is set by employment legislation and depends on the length of service and payroll. However, common law allows for a longer period of notice, and will generally exceed the minimum statutory entitlement.

Canada’s employment law is similar to that of the United States, though Canadian employment law tends to be more protective. It regulates matters that are directly related to an employee’s livelihood.

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