Global Compliance Desk – British Columbia

Employment Standards Act Amended

The Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 (“Bill 8”) received Royal Assent on May 30, 2019, so Bill 8’s amendments to the Employment Standards Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 113 (the “ESA”) is now in force. Some of the new addition to the final version of Bill 8 were are as follows:

Leave for Victims of Sexual Violence

Employees are now entitled to receive a job-protected unpaid leave of up to 10 days and 15 weeks if they, or an “eligible person” such as their children or a dependent adult person under their care, experience domestic or sexual violence, and wish to request a leave for one or more of the following purposes:

  • To seek medical attention for the employee or eligible person in respect of a physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic or sexual violence;
  • To obtain for the employee or eligible person victim services or other social services relating to domestic or sexual violence;
  • To obtain for the employee or eligible person psychological or other professional counseling services in respect of a psychological or emotional condition caused by domestic or sexual violence;
  • To temporarily or permanently relocate the employee or eligible person or both the employee and eligible person;
  • To seek legal or law enforcement assistance for the employee or eligible person, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to the domestic or sexual violence; or
  • Any prescribed purpose.

Critical Illness or Injury Leave

The bill has extended critical illness or injury leave up to 36 weeks to care for a critically ill child and up to 16 weeks to care for a critically ill adult.

Employers should be particularly aware of the following amendments which may be important for future reference:

Collective Agreements

Any collective agreement that is made or renewed after May 30, 2019, has to meet or exceed the requirements in the ESA regarding special clothing; hours of work and overtime; statutory holidays; annual vacation and vacation pay; and seniority retention, recall, termination, and layoff.

Retention of Payroll Records

Employers are now required to retain payroll records for up to four years after the date on which the payroll records were created. The former requirement was to retain payroll records for two years after the employment terminates.

These are a few of the many changes included in Bill 8. See our previous bulletin on Bill 8 for a broader overview of (then impending) changes to the ESA.

Shreya Bhattacharya
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shreya Bhattacharya
A labor and employment lawyer at Replicon who specializes in global compliance. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. Replicon is an industry leader in global compliance and has a dedicated team which pro-actively monitors international labor regulations for ensuring proper adherence with specific country rule requirements.
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