On April 29, 2019, the Government of BC announced its plans for changes to the Employment Standards Act. Key proposed changes would include increasing the minimum working age in BC and expanding job protections for those requiring leave due to certain personal circumstances.
Under the new legislation, the minimum working age in BC would increase from 12 to 16, with exceptions for certain jobs such as those deemed "light work" or in the entertainment industry.
Currently, there is no legal provision for workers escaping domestic violence to take time off work. Under the amended Employment Standards Act, they would be allowed to take 10 non-consecutive days of unpaid leave and have an option of taking up to 15 weeks of consecutive unpaid leave. The purpose of this leave would be to allow workers time for finding alternate accommodations, attending medical appointments, or making any other necessary arrangements.
The coming changes also create new protections for workers tending to family members who are critically ill. They would be entitled to take up to 36 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a critically-ill child or up to 16 weeks for an adult.
Additionally, the BC government intends to establish a new legal framework to protect workers' rights pertaining to their tips and gratuities. Employers would be barred from withholding or deducting tips and gratuities from workers, and prohibited from requiring workers to turn over tips and gratuities.
For more information and details on the upcoming changes to the Employment Standards Act, please see the official news release from the Government of BC.
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