Canadian HR Reporter

October 19, 2015

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER October 19, 2015 2 NEWS Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E ACROSS CANADA 12 countries including Canada reach tentative Trans Pacific trade deal Would eliminate trade barriers, cover 40 per cent of world's economy Winnipeg lawyer who lost hand in letter blast thanks supporters Maria Mitousis faces long-term rehabilitation National Bank cutting hundreds of jobs because of economy, competition Hopes to minimize impact on 17,298 employees Ex-CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi pleads not guilty to 5 charges Trial set for February More than one-half of leading CHROs not career HR professionals: Study Changing industry helps with advancement AROUND THE WORLD Wal-Mart cuts hundreds of HQ jobs in effort to be more competitive 'Retail is changing and we must change': CEO U.S. hiring slows as employers add just 142,000 jobs in September Unemployment rate stays at 5.1 per cent Volkswagen plant cuts extra shift, freezes division hiring amid uncertainty over scandal 'VW will no longer be what it was – a lot will change there structurally' e power of resilience How can resilience completely change a person's experience of work? Andrew Soren, an expert on positive psychology, sat down with Canadian HR Reporter TV to explain. FEATURED VIDEO about how people are called in… (but) on the other side of it, there's a gaping hole in labour laws for workers especially that don't have unions." ere is nothing in any provin- cial employment standards act that guards against it, he said, so it's a perfectly legal practice for employers. But it's high time for change, said Langille. "People really can't plan their lives if they're at the beck and call of their employer. It's hard to ar- range child care, it's hard to ar- range schooling and it's hard to schedule shifts for other part-time jobs that the people might have. Because often what we're seeing in retail and in the service indus- tries is multiple jobs — that's the reality as a way for people to make ends meet, because the wages are so incredibly low these days for service industry workers." For many workers, especially in the private sector, provincial laws are their only protections — and legislation serves as a "floor" that establishes the minimum deemed acceptable, said Kendra Coulter, associate professor at the Centre for Labour Studies at Brock Uni- versity in St. Catharines, Ont. "Both inclusions and silences speak volumes. Most provinces' employment standards acts are completely silent on scheduling notice," she said. "Unfortunately, it is now very common for both full- and part- time workers in sectors like retail (Canada's largest employment sphere) to be required to keep open, week-long availability, and yet to only get notice of their shift a day or two in advance, or even to be called in on the same day — and to be given no guarantee of a minimum number of hours. ey might wait all week and get no work." ere isn't a lot of data to show how pervasive this actually is, said DiCaro. "Anecdotally, it seems to be be- coming a dominant narrative in the sector, and certainly that has to change." Examining the nuances Change may come sooner rather than later in Ontario, which is undertaking a workplace review with an eye on potential changes to employment standards and la- bour laws. But any changes would need to take into account the nuances of on-call scheduling and the differ- ent challenges employers in dif- ferent sectors may face, said Liam McGuinty, manager of policy and government relations at the On- tario Chamber of Commerce in Toronto. "As (the provincial government is) considering changes, our over- all message is 'Consider what the impact will be on Ontario's com- petitiveness,'" he said. "Consider the differences between sectors and their ability to foresee capac- ity requirements down the road." It makes sense for a compa- ny such as Loblaw to put out a schedule 10 days in advance — it's a highly sophisticated com- pany with a highly sophisticated HR department, said McGuinty, and it's also relatively easy for the company to foresee future capac- ity requirements. "It's a totally different situation for a mid-sized manufacturer who often has to adjust production in order to meet demand. So some- times those changes in demand require an increase in staffing that has to happen over the course of a few days. So it's not realistic to expect that kind of company to schedule 10 days or two weeks in advance because they just can't foresee their staffing require- ment," he said. ere's also the distinction that on-call scheduling can mean dif- ferent things, said DiCaro. "ere's a part of it that is a natural part of being a part-time worker in the retail sector... If peo- ple were to call in sick and there's a need to call people in to fill in gaps, or there's higher traffic lev- els than usual in stores, the pro- cess of calling people in to work is something that retail workers have come to expect," he said. "When I talk about this, there's some nuance to it because on (that) aspect of on-call, I think that there's ways that that can continue to happen, as long as the process of calling people in is fair." It's not about a blanket ban on on-call shifts, it's just about implementing fair and balanced standards around it, he said. "ere's this tendency to want this full stop against on-call, but to me it doesn't make a lot of sense because it's not capturing all the different nuance." Proposed solutions One important change Unifor has identified is the push for negotia- tions around minimum hours of work, said DiCaro. "We (are) calling on the (On- tario) provincial government to think about, when they're doing their employment standards re- view, actually instituting, legis- lating minimum hours of work guarantees for part-time workers — some measure of stability for part-timers," he said. "Another aspect of on-call is having proper processes in place about how call-ins will work and when they'll be used… in certain occupations, if you're on-call, you're actually compensated for that time that you're on-call. It's not unheard of." Another thing they'd like to see legislated is stronger language around what happens if a shift is cancelled, he said. "ere's got to be some strong compensation language around that as well. So if 15 minutes be- fore my shift, I get a phone call that says, 'Oh, we don't need you today,' that shouldn't be allowed. And if it does happen, those work- ers need to be compensated," said DiCaro. Legislating fair scheduling practices is essential because, otherwise, many if not most retail workers will have no protection, said Langille. "Does it need to be in employ- ment standards legislation? Well, absolutely, because most of the workplaces where this is a prob- lem aren't going to be unionized. ere's a very low rate of union- ization in the retail and service industries," he said. "We need to embed fair sched- uling practices and limits on on- call employment to something reasonable through employment standards legislation. I think that's something that needs to be done sooner rather than later." And it shouldn't matter where you're working or what sector you're in, said Coulter. "Some scheduling notice and predictability is such a basic right. Two weeks' notice has been pro- posed by some, and that seems to be a very reasonable minimum. Employment standards could also require that current employ- ees be offered more hours before any new hires are made," she said. In essence, we need to stop the push to compete with the low- est common denominator, said DiCaro. "at can only take a sector so far and I hope the future will be competition based on quality cus- tomer service — and if you want quality customer service, then you're going to have to treat (em- ployees) better." ON-CALL < pg. 1 Rule changes must consider nuances "If you want quality customer service, you have to treat employees better."

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