June 10th, 2004:
GOVERNMENT ACTS TO PROTECT WORKERS
In addition to establishing the Minister’s Employment Standards Action Group,
the McGuinty government is protecting workers through legislation that would end
the 60-hour work week, measures to increase awareness of workplace rights and
responsibilities, and more rigorous enforcement of employment standards law.
Need for Change
The government is acting in response to complaints from employers and employees
that some companies are not complying with the
Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). Concerns have also been raised
that some employers and employees do not know their rights and obligations under
Employees also stated they felt pressured into agreeing to work extra hours
under the changes introduced under the previous government through the ESA.
Employment Standards Amendment Act (Hours of Work and Other Matters), 2004,
introduced on April 26, 2004 and currently before the Legislature, would ensure
employees have a genuine choice about working extra hours and would fulfill the
government’s commitment to end the “60-hour work week”.
Outreach and Awareness
Awareness and knowledge of employment standards law by employees and employers
is critical to achieving increased compliance. The ministry will be undertaking
the following initiatives:
Working with stakeholders to provide web-based information about employment
standards rights and responsibilities;
Acting with community partners to get information to those who need it,
especially recent immigrants who may not know their rights and those whose first
language is not English or French;
Making information available in a variety of languages;
Employment Standards Amendment Act (Hours of Work and Other Matters), 2004
would, if passed, require that employees requested to work excess hours be given
a Ministry of Labour-produced information sheet that sets out employee rights
around hours of work and overtime pay; and
A streamlined process for quicker turnaround and file closures.
Enhanced enforcement measures will also ensure increased compliance with the
law. These will include:
Targeted inspections of workplaces – focusing on high risk employers – for
compliance with all aspects of the ESA;
Stricter enforcement, including prosecutions where warranted;
A new proposed requirement that employees be given a Ministry of Labour-produced
information sheet that sets out employees’ rights about hours of work and
overtime pay; and
Significantly enhanced and simplified web-based access to better information for
employers and employees.
If convicted under the act, corporations may be fined up to $100,000 for a first
offence, $250,000 for a second and $500,000 for a third or more offence. An
individual can be fined up to $50,000 or sentenced to up to 12 months in jail,
Ministry of Labour
Written By: Ministry Of Labour
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