Canadian Employment Law Today

May 24, 2017

Focuses on human resources law from a business perspective, featuring news and cases from the courts, in-depth articles on legal trends and insights from top employment lawyers across Canada.

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V acation is a great time for employ- ees to unwind and recharge, and it is legally mandated in all Canadian provinces and territories. How- ever, ensuring vacation time and pay compliance is not as simple as it seems, and it can be quite the headache for human resources pro- fessionals to understand, calculate and administer. Employers often forget that, subject to contractual limits, they can force employees to use their statutory vacation time by a certain point; in fact, they are man- Sponsored by dated to make employees use their vacation time within a timeframe prescribed by provincial legislation. In Ontario, employers must make employees use their vacation time within ten months after it is accrued, and in British Columbia the employee has twelve months. However, company policy can stipulate that it be used ear- lier. Employees often ask for payout in lieu of vacation, but this is generally not acceptable under provincial legislation. Most provinces mandate that employees be allowed to use vacation time in blocks of at least one week, if not more. Cutting vacation time into small one- or two-day chunks is usually not allowed unless it is at the request of the employee. Generally speaking, vaca- tion pay must be paid in advance of the employee tak- ing vacation time. Employers sometimes forget that though this arrangement can be altered in some provinces, it must be done with the writ- ten consent of the employee. In provinces like Quebec, vacation pay must be paid out in advance, and paying a percentage of wages on every pay cheque technically con- stitutes a violation of employ- ment standards. Most importantly, vacation laws vary from province to province. Therefore, a blan- ket trans-provincial vacation policy may work in Ontario, for example, but might vio- late the statutes of Quebec or Alberta. It is important to check with each province's legislation and consult with an employment lawyer to ensure that your vacation policy is compliant. Taking the Time: A Primer on Vacation Time and Pay

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