Worldly Wise

B.C.’s new minimum wage now in effect

B.C.’s minimum wage is going up by $1.30 Friday to boost the province’s current wage of $11.35 per hour to $12.65.

The wage increase is part of the provincial government’s plan to raise the current wage to just over $15 per hour by 2021.

To make that happen, the minimum wage will increase every year until that amount is met:

  • June 1, 2019: $13.85 an hour ($1.20 increase)
  • June 1, 2020: $14.60 an hour ($0.75 increase)
  • June 1, 2021: $15.20 an hour ($0.60 increase)

The head of the B.C. Federation of Labour, Irene Lanzinger, says it’s not too much too soon.

“We have to remember that under the Liberals, we had a 10-year period when the minimum wage didn’t go up at all,” Lanzinger said.

B.C.’s minimum wage remained at $8 per hour from 2001 to 2011 under the Liberal’s Gordon Campbell government.

When Christy Clark, also of the B.C. Liberal Party, became premier in 2011, she increases the minimum wage to $8.75 per hour. By the time she left office in 2017, the province’s minimum wage was $10.85.

“We live in a very expensive province. The poverty line is about $15 an hour. So there are hundreds of thousands of workers who, even if they work full-time, have a wage below the poverty line [and] that’s just not fair.”

Source: British Columbia

Costco just became an even more appealing place to work after raising its minimum wage to $14 an hour

About 130,000 Costco employees are about to get a boost. In a call with investors on Thursday, Costco’s CFO, Richard Galanti, confirmed that the retailer would be raising its minimum wage from $13 to $14, effective June 11.

Warehouse employees will receive an increase of between $0.25 to $0.50 an hour, he said. The wage increase comes in the wake of the GOP’s corporate tax cuts, which has encouraged companies to raise wages and even hand out bonuses to employees.

Earlier this year, Walmart also announced that it would raise starting wages for its hourly employees from $9 to $11 and would offer a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000 to other employees who are not impacted by these increases.

More than 1 million employees would benefit from this, according to Walmart. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that the wage increases were a direct result of the tax cuts, which could also help the company to offer lower prices for customers, provide more training for sales associates, and investment in technology.

The same day that this news broke, Walmart also announced that it would be closing 63 of its 660 Sam’s Clubs warehouse stores, costing thousands of employees their jobs.

Source: Business Insider

Trade Union Law effective: Labour Ministry

The Labour Ministry and the Arbitration Council Foundation yesterday attributed a sharp decline in labour dispute cases last year to a Trade Union Law enacted in 2016.

ACF yesterday held a national conference promoting effective governance related to industrial relations.

It reported that over the course of 15 years, the council has received a total of 2,650 labour dispute cases involving one million garment workers. The report added that 75 percent of labour disputes were resolved.

In 2017, there were only 50 reported cases, it noted, a drop from 248 cases in 2016 and 338 cases in 2015.

The ACF also said that 87 percent of disputes were related to the garment manufacturing sector and tourism.

Mam Vannak, a Labour Ministry secretary of state, said that the decline can be attributed to the Trade Union Law law passed in 2016.

“We notice that since the Trade Union Law was enacted, employers and employees seem more cooperative in finding solutions,” he said. “So the number of labour disputes sent to the council has declined. This is what we are happy about and it’s a no-headache solution.”

Men Nimmith, ACF executive director, said that the council used to receive hundreds of cases.

Source: Khmer Times

Fair Work Commission rules on minimum wage

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has today announced its decision to increase the national minimum wage by 3.5% from 1 July 2018.

This means that for about 200,000 workers who are paid the national minimum wage, base wages will increase from $18.29 an hour or $694.90 per 38-hour week to $18.93 an hour or $719.20 per week.

As in previous years, the FWC also increased minimum wages for up to 2.3 million workers who have their pay set by any of the 122 modern awards by 3.5%.

In its decision, the FWC said the current economic conditions supported an increase, “…the economic indicators now point more unequivocally to a healthy national economy and labour market.”

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) wanted an increase of $50 a week, arguing it would help Australians grappling with the rising cost of living.

Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy said the FWC had reinforced a wage rise of the size proposed by the ACTU would, “…carry a substantial risk of reducing the employment opportunities for low-skilled workers, including many young persons, who are looking for work.”

As is its standard practice, the FWC considered evidence from unions, employer representatives, community groups, state governments and the Commonwealth to reach its decision.

Source: HRD Australia

INSIDE LABOUR: Minimum wage, innovation and persecution

It will probably be a year before the controversial minimum wage bill passes through the National Council of Provinces and becomes law. By then, especially taking account of the 1 percentage point VAT increase to 15% and the hike in the fuel levy, the living costs of lower-paid workers will have risen greatly.

Supporters of the measure tend to stress R3 500 a month as the proposed minimum income, with President Cyril Ramaphosa pointing out that more than 6 million workers are paid less than this. Therefore, it is argued, this large group stands to benefit from the legislation.

But this is an illusion since many, perhaps most, workers earning less than R3 500 a month are in domestic employ. And the new law puts their hourly minimum at R15, a sum slightly less than the existing minimum set by ministerial determination for workers in major urban areas.

Most domestic workers are also not in full-time work; many labour for two or three employers and often, on average, for a total of perhaps for three or four days a week or less. Under the proposed new dispensation, even a 40-hour, a five-days-a-week job would mean just R2 400 a month.

In many cases, certainly in major centres such as Johannesburg and Cape Town, half that amount could go on transport alone.

Source: Fin24

Minimum wage increased by 3.5% to $18.93 an hour

The stronger economic forecast has allowed an increase of the national minimum wage by 3.5%, taking it to $18.93 per hour.

But the increase decided upon by the Fair Work Commission on Friday is well below the 7.2% called for by unions.

The FWC decision sets the new minimum wage at $719.20 a week. That will mean wages will rise by $24.30 a week for about two million workers.

The commission pointed to stronger economic indicators and forecasts from the federal government, the International Monetary Fund and the Reserve Bank.

Source: The Guardian


South Africa sets first-ever minimum wage

A minimum wage, of 20 rand ($1.59) per hour, has been set in South Africa for the first time in the country’s history.

Supporters of the bill say the new wage will reduce inequality and boost economic growth as it will encourage more spending. A 2016 commission, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, found that just under 50% of employed South Africans earned less than the new minimum wage.

Following this, South Africa’s government voted overwhelmingly in favour of passing the new minimum wage bill, with the expectation that it will help the lowest paid workers, including almost 75% of farm and domestic workers.

David N. Margolis writes that minimum wages can both “protect workers with low bargaining power from exploitation” and “increase household income.” In his IZA World of Labor article, Introducing a statutory minimum wage in middle and low-income countries, Margolis argues that the “motivations for introducing a statutory minimum wage in developing countries include reducing poverty, advancing social justice, and accelerating growth.”

Source: IZA World of Labour

Maternity protection in the workplace

Every second Sunday of May, we honour and pay tribute to our mothers for their strength, resilience and the pivotal role they play in shaping us into the people we are today.

From a legal standpoint, we may also pay tribute to mothers in a way that extends beyond the purely personal sphere. The Philippines has an obligation to pass measures—at a national level—to strengthen the social protection of women workers, specifically as regards maternity protection at the workplace.

Our country falls below regional and international standards in terms of statutory paid maternity leave. Based on a 2012 report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), our country grants one of the fewest paid maternity leave days, compared with its Southeast Asian neighbours. Existing Philippine laws grant only 60 days of paid maternity leave for women who undergo normal childbirth, and 78 days for those who deliver via caesarian section.

In contrast, Vietnam grants expectant mothers 180 days of paid maternity leave, while Singapore grants 112 days’ leave. Myanmar grants 98 days’ paid leave, in line with the recommended number of paid maternity leave days under Convention 183 of the ILO.

Source: The Manila Times

Maternity leave with full pay if you work one year completely in UAE

This is in accordance with Article 30 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the ‘Employment Law’). Which states: “A female employee shall be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days, including the period preceding and the period following her confinement, on condition that she has been in her employer’s service for a continuous period of not less than one year. If she has not completed the aforesaid period of service, she shall be entitled to maternity leave with half pay.

On the expiry of her maternity leave a female employee may be absent from her work without pay for a maximum period of 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days, if such absence is due to an illness preventing her from resuming her work and if the illness is confirmed by a medical certificate issued by the medial service specified by the competent health authority or if the latter authority confirms that the illness was caused by the women’s work or confinement.

The leave provided for in the preceding two paragraphs, shall not be deducted from another period of leave.”

The Employment Law is silent on resignation by an employee during maternity leave. Therefore, you may resign and see whether your employer accepts your resignation. However, it is recommended you serve your notice period upon re-joining the employment immediately after your maternity leave to avoid any objections from your employer.

Source: Khaleej Times

LABOUR BUZZ: National minimum wages effective May 1, 2018

The time arrived on May 1st, 2018 and the National Minimum Wage (NMW) became law in South Africa. Jubilation for many workers and unions but the serious concern in how to keep business doors open for many employers.

Employers that cannot afford the increase MUST apply online for exemption. Applications for exemptions do not make provision for manual submission and the process can only be accessed via the NMW website which should have been running since March 2018 to allow applications. I have attempted to access this online application system but with no success.

However, to assist employers and as a lot of confusion seems to be around the following, wages need to be implemented effective 1 May 2018.

Daily minimum wage is set as 4800 Kyats for workers of Myanmar

The Government of Myanmar has fixed 4,800 Kyats as there new daily minimum wage for labourers to reduce poverty and inequality and to strengthen democracy and promote sustainable development.

The National Committee Minimum Wages proclaimed that the Minimum Wages applies to private business which has around 10 workers but not small and family-owned companies with less than 10 workers.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar government has also announced raising the salary of civil servants across the country with effect from the month of April.

The Ministry of Planning and Finance stated that the current annual salary ranges will be hiked by 10 percent and 20 percent respectively.

The workers wanted 5,600 kyats per day as their minimum wages but the National Committee for Minimum Wage decided to give 4,800 kyats per day as the Minimum Wages.

Source: Xinhuanet

Trump’s Government wants to reduce child labour laws

The Trump Government wants to reduce decades-old protections for America’s youngest workers by allowing teens to toil for long hours under some of the nation’s most treacherous workplace.

The Labor Department will propound relaxing current rules—known as Hazardous Occupations Orders — that bar 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, sources told Bloomberg Law.

That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognizes as too dangerous for youths younger than 18.

Source: New York Post

How Saudi labour law caters to women

It has been observed that labour law issues receive a wide response from employees and business owners. Mostly, employees and employers will refer to this system only when they need to, without paying attention to the small duties and rights.
I believe that both parties have rights and duties that they are unaware of which are very important and reflect directly on their performance. In this series on the Saudi labour system, we will talk briefly about the most important terms affecting the employee’s job and the employer’s decisions.
Therefore, the current focus is more on the empowerment of women and the great emphasis on their rights and equality with their male colleagues, owing to their impressive contribution in the wheel of Saudi development, and their significant efforts in the development of the national economy.

Source: Arab News

BusinessNZ says labour law changes will mean unions control conditions of the entire workforce

New Zealand’s corporate sector has stepped up its attack on proposed labour laws, saying it would put the control of conditions in the hands of a fraction of the workforce and undermine a move towards flexible working conditions.

Business New Zealand appeared before the Education and Workforce select committee in its hearings on the Employment Relations Amendment Act.

Kirk Hope, chief executive of BusinessNZ, said the law could breach privacy laws as well International Labour Organisation conventions ratified by the last Labour Government, around voluntary participation in collective bargaining.

“It’s certainly not great for business, it’s not going to be that great for workers and indeed it’s not going to be that good for New Zealand, frankly,” Hope told the select committee.


South Korea labour law cuts working week to 52 hours

A controversial new law in South Korea will limit the working week from a maximum of 68 to 52 hours.

The government says it will help work-life balance, but some businesses say it will make them less competitive.

Source: Aljazeera

More than 200,000 workers to get back pay after NMW investigations

In the 2017/18 financial year, HMRC investigators uncovered £15.6 million in underpayments to these workers, up from £10.9 million for more than 98,000 workers last year.

HMRC attributes this jump in non-payment cases to an online complaints service it launched last year, which led to a 132% increase in reports.

The Government is due to launch its annual advertising campaign to raise awareness of workers’ right to receive the national living wage or national minimum wage and point them towards an online resource where they can report underpayment.

On 1 April, the national living wage rate increased to £7.83 per hour for those aged 25 and over, while the national minimum wage rose to 7.38 per hour for those aged 21 to 24.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Employers abusing the system and paying under the legal minimum are breaking the law.

“Shortchanging workers is a red line for this Government and employers who cross the line will be identified by HMRC and forced to pay back every penny and could be hit with fines of up to 200% of wages owed.”

Source: Personnel Today

Farmworkers entitled to minimum wage for some tasks, high court says

Farmworkers in Washington who are being paid a piece-work rate must be paid minimum wage for the time they spend doing other tasks, a divided state Supreme Court said Thursday.

In response to a question from a federal judge, a bare majority of the court said the state’s minimum wage law plainly requires employers to pay their adult workers at least minimum wage for the hours worked. They can’t average the amount they get from piece-work with a lesser hourly wage for other tasks so that the weekly paycheck totals the amount that would be paid under minimum wage.

“There is no exception, other statutory provision, or judicial or executive interpretation that allows employers to evade the plain language in the context presented,” Justice Mary Yu wrote in a majority opinion signed by four other justices.

The case involves a possible class-action suit in U.S. District Court between farm workers and the Dovex Fruit Co. of Wenatchee over wages and working conditions. U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza asked the state’s highest court for an interpretation of the Washington Minimum Wage Act, which is under dispute by the two sides.

Source: Spokesman

New California Ruling Easy as ‘ABC’ to Determine Employee or Independent Contractor?

Los Angeles, California courts have been debating, defining and determining employment status—whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor– since 1989. Mis-classification has always been a grey area, despite California labour law holding for three decades the “Borello” standard. As of April 30, however, the new and more rigid “ABC test” is being used to identify disputes under wage orders. And experts say it will have far-reaching implications for the California workforce.

Independent contractor misclassification persists in all industries, from taxi drivers and truck drivers to cable installers and service industry workers. In California and many other states, it is presumed that workers are employees and not independent contractors, and the burden is on the employer to demonstrate that the worker is properly classified as an independent contractor.

Some employers classify a significant portion of their workforce as independent contractors to reduce overhead and provide greater flexibility. By classifying workers as an independent contractor, the employer avoids minimum wage and overtime requirements, the meal and rest break requirements, prompt payment of wages, and various penalties for violating these laws.

Source: Lawyers and Settlements

The new law will force 3,000 big companies to show they are stamping out slavery

The federal government will force 3,000 big companies to explain how they are stamping out modern slavery, a move welcomed by anti-slavery campaigners.

But unions and Labor say the changes will be “inadequate and ineffective” without the creation of an independent anti-slavery commissioner or penalties for corporations that breach their new requirements.

The government has been urged to act on modern slavery following a series of revelations of widespread exploitation, including of migrant fruit pickers in Australia, domestic workers in Australian embassies, and children in foreign orphanages.

Source: The Guardian

Failing to pay the national minimum wage should be a criminal offence

Yet in 2017, the Low Pay Commission estimated that some 1.9 million jobs paid at or below the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This is likely to rise to 3.4 million by 2020.

Currently, around 362,000 jobs earned less than the NMW. The picture worsens when it is noted that a 20% of UK’s population earns less than the living wage.

Those most likely to be low paid to include women, the young, part-time and temporary employees, those in lower-skilled occupations, and those employed in the hospitality, retail and care sectors. Of course, men are not immune.

Souce: Left Foot Forward

How the United Kingdom protects its employees against discrimination

New regulations introduced under the UK Equality Law came into effect on April 5th. Now compliant under the new act, companies in the UK which employ 250 or more people are required to report the disparities in compensation statistics of men and women. The truth is that everybody expected wage disparity between the two sexes. After all, it is a centuries-old tradition.

The only question that had loomed was, “How much?” And the answer to that question is what has still managed to surprise.

Some high-level numbers to denote the gap:

  • Average median pay gap between men and women is 12%
  • A total of almost 8 in 10 companies pay men more than women in the UK
  • Men form the majority of the highest pay quartile in 19 of the 21 areas of the private sector.

Source: People Matters

Ontario Finalizes Pay Transparency Act, 2018, Targeting Large Employers

As we reported in March of 2018, the Ontario government recently introduced legislation designed to create pay transparency by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about pay history, requiring employers to report their pay practices to the Ministry of Labour, and authorizing the appointment of compliance officers to investigate whether employers have complied with the bill’s requirements, among other things.

The Ontario government recently passed Bill 3, the Pay Transparency Act, 2018, making Ontario the first province in Canada to enact pay transparency legislation. Bill 3 replaces the original Bill 203 that had been introduced in March 2018. The new Pay Transparency Act, 2018, clarifies several of the new rules that will apply to Ontario employers starting in 2019, with an initial focus on targeting larger businesses. But it also leaves a number of uncertainties that will need to be clarified in future regulations (i.e., rules made by the government outside of the formal lawmaking process).

Source: Lexology

Ontario introduces pay transparency legislation in Ontario

Bill 3, the Pay Transparency Act, 2018, passed Third Reading in the Ontario Legislature on April 26, 2018. The legislation will require an employer to disclose certain compensation information about, and to, employees and prospective employees, and restrict the information an employer may solicit during the hiring process. The Pay Transparency Act, 2018, comes into force on Jan. 1, 2019. Accordingly, employers (particularly those with more than 100 employees) should prepare now.

Source: Employment La Today

Rwandan trade unions in the fresh appeal for minimum wage on Labor Day

Rwanda’s trade unions on Tuesday made a fresh appeal for the government at the national Labor Day celebrations to expedite setting up of a new minimum wage.

There is need to fast-trackRwandan trade unions in fresh appeal the setting up of a new minimum wage as part of efforts to improve relations between workers and employers in the country, said Martin Rugema, head of Rwanda Workers Trade Union Confederation, in Rubavu district, western Rwanda.

Workers in the informal sector in rural areas need at least 87,000 Rwandan francs (101 U.S. dollars) minimum wage while those in urban areas need a minimum wage of at least 126,000 Rwandan francs (147 U.S. dollars), according to a survey of the trade union Labor Congress and Workers’ Brotherhood in Rwanda.

Source: Xinhuanet

NJ’s Equal Pay Act, FLSA Opt-Ins, “Ambush Election” Rule, Guidance on New Tax Credit

A weekly rundown of the latest news in the field brought to you by Epstein Becker Green. We look at the latest trends, important court decisions, and new developments that could impact your work. Join us every Monday for a new five-minute episode! Read the firm’s press release here and subscribe for updates.

Source: Jdsupra

Philippine President Duterte signs an order banning ‘illegal’ short-term labour

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (May 1) signed an executive order banning employ-on-contract practices, even as tens of thousands of workers marked Labour Day with a huge rally to call him out for reneging on a key campaign promise.

Ending short-term labour was one of Mr Duterte’s many campaign promises.

Two-thirds of the country’s 39 million to 40 million workforces are on short-term contracts, according to a 2016 government estimate.

Source: Straits Times

The long-standing issue of child labour in Africa

Africa has the world’s highest incidence rates of child labour with severe rates in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 40 per cent of all children aged 5–14 labour for survival, or about 48 million children.

As per the current status provided by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest proportion of child labourers (29 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 years). In the Middle East and North Africa, fewer than 1 in 10 (7 per cent) of children in this age group are performing potentially harmful work.

Source: Devdiscourse

Qatar sets best standards for the welfare of workers

Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, H E Dr Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi has said that Qatar is having the best standards for workers’ welfare as it has updated most of the labour legislation to comply with the best international standards.

The Minister said that International Labour Organisation (ILO) has become a strategic partner, especially after opening an office in Qatar. “Qatar has become a role model in the workers’ welfare,” he said while speaking at the 5th Labour and Workers Conference organised by Dar Al Sharq to mark the Workers’ Day at Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel yesterday.

Meanwhile, ILO has confirmed that Qatar made remarkable advancement to ensure the rights of workers. “The realisation of the fundamental principles and rights at work is making significant progress in Qatar,” said Corrine Vergha, Director of the International Labour Standards Department at ILO while addressing the event.

Source: The peninsula

 New Jersey Equal Pay Act Signed Into Law

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (the “Act”), which amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) to provide enhanced equal pay protections for New Jersey employees. The Act, which becomes effective on July 1, 2018, prohibits pay disparities based upon characteristics protected by the NJLAD, such as race, creed, colour, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, etc. Specifically, the Act makes it an unlawful employment practice “[f]or an employer to pay any of its employees who is a member of a protected class at a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid by the employer to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility.”

Source: National Law Review

Following Election of Governor Murphy, New Jersey Finally Enacts Equal Pay Bill

On April 24, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act that was passed by the legislature several weeks ago and is aimed at lessening the wage gap in the Garden State. The Equal Pay Act is more comprehensive than similar laws passed in other states because it extends legal protections not just based on gender, but to all protected classes under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”).  The bill amends the LAD and makes it illegal for an employer to pay a person protected under the LAD less than an employee performing similar work.

Source: JD Supra

Qatari laws to match global standards: NHRC

The Qatari laws have sought compliance with international labour standards, and labour legislation continues to improve, said Sultan Hassan Al Jamali, Assistant Secretary General of National Human Rights Committee (NHRC).

He said that the Domestic Workers Law was passed in 2017, and we hope that labour laws will continue to evolve until all international standards met with the availability of mechanisms that ensure the best working conditions.

Al Jamali was speaking at a seminar on Labor and Residence Law for the Indian Community in Qatar yesterday at Doha Hilton Hotel. The seminar was organised by NHRC to educate the representatives of Indian Community so they could pass the information to their fellow citizen’s, especially blue-collar workers in their native language for better understanding. “The right to work is one of the human rights enshrined in many international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the State of Qatar recently acceded to,” said Al Jamali.

Source: The PeninsulaQatar

The Truth About the New Laos Minimum Wage Hike

After months of deliberation, Laos’ Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith announced this week that the country’s minimum wage will increase from 900,000 kip ($108) to 1.1 million kip per month. This rise is set to take effect from early next month.

The Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU), a state-sponsored union organization, had petitioned for the minimum wage to be increased to 1.2 million kip per month, which they said was necessary because of the rising cost of living. But the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a lobbying group, put up a strong fight, arguing that any minimum wage rise above 1 million kip would be disastrous for the country’s manufacturing industry, still nascent at best, while also asking for a two-year implementation period for the wage rise in order to soften the blow of extra salary expenditure.

Thongloun, it would seem, has sided with the forces of labour, not capital, in this dispute. Some analysts thought that the ruling Communist Party might have instead swayed in the other direction, given that national debt is mounting – 68 percent of GDP in 2016 – while the Party is keen to diversify its economy, long reliant on the export of natural resources. Unlike neighbouring Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam, Laos’ low-cost manufacturing sector remains in the developmental stages relatively speaking, which industry bodies argue won’t be helped by raising salaries.

Source: The Diplomat

LISTEN: How will minimum wage increases affect the restaurant industry in B.C.?

With ever-advancing technologies and artificial intelligence creeping into the workforce, job security for current and future generations has never been more worrying. CKNW’s Future of Work series focuses on how British Columbia’s job market is going to evolve and how to help workers get the best possible employment opportunities in the future.

B.C. has announced plans to raise its minimum wage to $15.20 by 2021 and to eliminate a special, lower minimum wage for people who serve liquor. They’re big changes that have many in the restaurant industry on edge.

Source: Global News

House OKs bill to let towns and counties hike the minimum wage

Local governments would be able to pass laws increasing the state’s minimum wage within their jurisdictions under a bill that won preliminary approval in the Colorado House on Monday.

The Democratic sponsors of the bill, Reps. Jovan Melton of Aurora and Jessie Danielson of Wheat Ridge said HB1368 was nothing more than a local-control measure, something that would allow those governments that have a higher cost of living to decide for themselves what their minimum wages should be.

Republicans, however, had a different opinion.

“It hurts the people making minimum wage in that district because overall it creates fewer jobs,” said Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction. “The second really bad part of it is it creates confusion around the state. If you have people trying to do business across the state, and you’ve got different minimum wages in all the jurisdictions, it creates a real problem for them accounting-wise. It drives up costs, and it probably incentivizes people to figure out solutions that use fewer minimum wage workers … such as computer ordering systems at restaurants.”

Source: The Daily Sentinel 

New York State Moves One Step Closer to New Pay Equity Laws

On the heels of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for New York to take additional steps to close the gender wage gap, the New York State Assembly passed a suite of pay equity legislation that would impact both private and public employers if successfully enacted.

New York’s existing Achieve Pay Equity Act (“APEA”) already aims to combat gender-based pay differentials. The New York State Fair Pay Act, one of the bills passed by the Assembly, extends equal pay legislation beyond gender, and would make it an unlawful discriminatory practice to pay “wages to employees at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex or of a different race or national origin for work in equivalent jobs.”  Additionally, employers could not pay wages to employees “in a job dominated by employees of a particular sex, race or national origin at a rate less than the rate at which such employer pays to employees in another job that is dominated by employees of the opposite sex or of a different race or national origin, for work on equivalent jobs.”

Source: JD SUPRA

Australia- Queensland’s Labour Hire Law In-force

Queensland, Australia’s “Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017” came into effect on 16 April 2018, and labour-hire service providers covered by the regulation have 60 days from its start to apply for a licence, according to the “Asia Pacific Legal Update Q1 2018” by Fiona Coombe, Director, Legal & Regulatory Research, at Staffing Industry Analysts.

A person provides labour hire services if the person supplies another to perform work.

“The regulations clarify the definition of a ‘worker’ and exclude certain categories of individual,” according to the report. “Exemptions include high-income earners not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement or Queensland’s industrial relations system; individuals who are supplied by one entity to another which is part of the same group; and secondments of an in-house employee of a provider or similar arrangements.”

Source: Staffing Industry

Little Switzerland workers take an employer to court over ‘no work, no pay’ principle

Little Switzerland’s holding company World Gifts Import B.V. pleaded with the Court to reject the claims. The Little Switzerland stores in St. Maarten suffered extensive damage due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which struck St. Maarten in September 2017.

Little Switzerland sells jewellery and luxury watches in more than 30 locations in the Caribbean, including in St. Maarten. The hurricanes severely damaged Little Switzerland’s Front Street and Harbour stores, which led to no or hardly any turnover since. Whereas the Harbour store has partially reopened in the meantime, the Front Street store, which is currently under reconstruction, remains closed until July/August 2018, lawyer Daniella Engelhardt of Van Eps Kunneman Van Doorne law office stated on behalf of the company. She said the renovation of the Front Street store, which was severely infested with mould, would cost the US $1.3 million.

Source: The Daily HeraldThe Daily Herald

Kenya needs a law on transfer of employees

The enactment of Labour Laws in 2007 has no doubt left Kenya standing among nations with the most robust workplace legal regimes in the world.

And that is further buttressed by the fact that the Employment and Labour Relations Court, which enjoys exclusive jurisdiction in the determination of labour disputes in Kenya, is known the world over for its pro-employee stance.

In many instances, the court has shown a willingness to bend double backwards to ensure employees who knock on its doors do not go home empty-handed unless their case is completely hopeless.

Source: Business Daily Africa

After we increased the minimum wage in 2016, unemployment didn’t go up (contrary to warnings)

THE INCREASE IN the national minimum wage rate did not lead to greater unemployment among minimum wage workers, according to a new study published by the ESRI and the Low Pay Commission.

On the 1 January 2016, the minimum wage increase from €8.65 to €9.15 per hour. The Low Pay Commission make recommendations on what the minimum wage should be.

The commission has said previously that it should be increased from €9.25 per hour to €9.55 per hour, which equates to an extra €12 over a 40-hour week.

This study examined if that increased cost of wages on businesses led employers to reduce their number of employees or the number of hours worked, an argument often used by those against an increase in the minimum wage.

While the research did find that there was a reduction in the average number of hours worked by minimum wage employees, the evidence suggests this was driven by an increase in part-time workers joining the labour market following the wage increase.

Source: The Journal

Liberals to introduce new minimum wage legislation for private-sector contractors

The Liberals will introduce new legislation on Tuesday that will set a minimum wage rate for construction workers, building services or cleaners under government contract. The legislation will include provisions for market-standard rates that contractors and sub-contractors have to pay their employees.

Contractors will be expected to bid on government contracts taking those rates into account.

Source: The Star 

Sexual harassment in the workplace a widespread issue—Minister

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a real and widespread issue, however, it is also a very broad and ambiguous subject. Many employers and employees do not completely understand what constitutes sexual harassment or who can be charged with a violation.

So said Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus who spoke yesterday’s launch of the Equal Opportunity Commission’s Guidelines on Sexual Harassment in the workplace. It was held at the Government Plaza, Port-of-Spain.

Baptiste-Primus said the prevention of sexual harassment was crucial for a workforce that prides itself on rewarding merit, refuses to tolerate discrimination and fosters gender equality.

“The work environment is expected to be a place where decent work is practised, or where employment ethics, respect for women and equal treatment of all workers should be upheld,” the minister urged.

Baptiste-Primus said that discrimination in the workplace and more specifically sexual harassment in the workplace was a global phenomenon which undermines the attainment of decent work.

“The elimination of discrimination in employment was one of the pillars of the Decent Work Agenda which have been endorsed at the highest political levels internationally and actions to promote this agenda have been pursued by the Government through ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No 111, Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Source: Guardian

Proposed New York law allows employees a right to disconnect from work

In a most interesting development on the other side of the globe, New York City officials are considering banning work emails outside of office hours. Sounds strange in a globalized world where we are all connected on a 24 X 7 basis, and talking more often about how robots might soon take away our jobs!

The proposed law on private employees disconnecting from electronic communications during non-work hours seeks to amend the New York city charter and the administrative code of the city of New York. If passed, it will make it unlawful for private employers from requiring their employees in New York to check and respond to emails and other electronic communication outside of work hours. As per Wikipedia, the ‘right to disconnect’ is a proposed human right regarding the ability of people to disconnect from work and primarily not to engage in work-related electronic communications such as e-mails or messages during non-work hours.  Some countries in Europe already have such a right included in their labour law. France was the first country to introduce this concept in 2001, based on a decision of its Supreme Court, which held that “the employee is under no obligation either to accept working at home or to bring there his files and working tools.”  Based on the recent development in New York, it now seems that other continents are considering this concept.

The thinking behind this development is to protect employees when they choose to disconnect from work. This would allow them a better work-life balance. While employees may still choose to respond to emails outside of work hours, not doing so cannot lead to any retaliation from their manager who as such should not expect a response. Additionally, employers will need to adopt necessary policies surrounding working hours, paid time off (during which employees have a right to disconnect), emergency situations, etc. Obviously, there will be certain exceptions to this rule, for example, work-related emergencies. On-call employees will also not be entitled to any protection on days that they are scheduled to work. Government employees will also be excluded. As per the proposed law, the employer could be subjected to a monetary fine if it does not comply with the requirements. Currently, this law is restricted to employers having at least ten employees in New York.

Source: People Matters