The Employment Standards Act for Ontario deals with basic rules and regulations for businesses that have staff or employees. In simple terms, it covers things like hours of work, overtime pay, minimum wage, payday rules, vacations, holidays and much more. It is mandated by the provincial government through the Ministry of Labour. In essence it deals with fairness in the workplace and sets out the minimum standards that employers and employees must abide by when dealing with each other.
Companies and employees can certainly exceed the minimum standards. They just cannot fail to meet them. Many times an employment agreement or a union contract will specify rules and regulations that go over and above the standards. This is all good provided that it is agreed to by both parties.
There are a number of sensitive issues that are dealt with in the course of business. One particular issue is the termination of employment. A number of conditions must be met, in this case mainly by the employer. In doing so, the rights of the employee being terminated need to be protected during the process. On the flip side, the process also covers the need for an employer to be able to terminate an employee who is acting in a detrimental way to the company. Both situations are important and need to be dealt with carefully and fairly. All of this is laid out in the act.
To go into all of the facets of the act would take more time and space than can reasonably be dealt with in a blog such as this. Everyone is encouraged to know their rights and how to deal with any disputes. Employees are able to file a claim against their employer if they feel their rights have been violated. They are protected by law against retribution for doing this. The hope is that everyone works well together in all capacities and that the act is there to provide guidance and clarification when needed. Business works best when everyone is on the same team.
A poster of the Employment Standards in Ontario is available for download at here on the Ministry of Labour website or within our Resources page. It is highly recommended that the poster be displayed in a prominent and appropriate location.