The Employment Standards Act (ESA) states the minimum standards of employment for workers in Ontario, along with the workplace rights and responsibilities of employees and employers. The Act covers most Ontario workers but with several industry exemptions.
The ESA is an extremely important resource for employers to help them understand what is legal in operating a business. When looking at the ESA, employers will find information about their responsibilities regarding things like record-keeping, as well as the minimum employment standards for employee-related topics, including:
- Hours of work
- Wages and overtime pay
- Equal pay for equal work
- Pregnancy and parental leave
- Leaves of absence
- Benefit plans
- Public holidays
- Vacation time and pay
- Termination and severance of employment
The ESA is an evolving document which is updated periodically. Understanding the ESA is essential in developing legally compliant contracts of employment, as well as workplace policies and procedures (which are included in employee handbooks).
There are some responsibilities that employers just aren’t aware of. For example, did you know that there are a number of posters which some employers must display within the workplace? In most workplaces all workers covered by the ESA must be given a copy (or made aware of where to find a copy) of the Employee Handbooks, which sets out employee rights under this piece of legislation.
Although the ESA can be difficult to understand at times, a business must know the regulations that affect it, as well as the rights and obligations of employers and employees. HR Enable can help you understand these responsibilities, rights, and obligations to ensure you are ESA compliant.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
If a company doesn’t meet the minimum employment standards or fails to comply with an enforcement action, they may face penalties and possible prosecution. Failure to meet the standards laid out in the ESA could result in enforcement actions, administrative penalties, and orders by the Ministry of Labour. Sometimes an investigation process is involved.
HR Enable works with our clients to ensure they fully comprehend and follow the Employment Standards Act to reduce an employer’s liability and avoid any penalties. We also help clients who are subject to an ESA investigation and help prepare the necessary documentation and navigate the process. Give us a call for more information about ESA compliance.