In order to raise awareness about workplace rights and responsibilities, the Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government will be releasing a series of information bulletins and factsheets this week as Labour Day approaches. This is the first in the series.
VICTORIA - At the start of the school year, many secondary and post-secondary students will be transitioning into part-time jobs in addition to their time in school. These working experiences are valuable for young people as they will learn skills that will be used throughout their adult lives. However, it's important that they and their parents are aware of their rights and responsibilities at work.
Did you know?
All young workers should understand the basic rules that apply to the world of work. For example:
- An employer cannot pay workers less than minimum wage, and an employee who reports for work must be paid for at least two hours even if he or she works less than that amount of time.
- Tips or gratuities are not wages. Employees must be paid minimum wage (or, if over 19 years of age and serving alcohol, the liquor server wage) in addition to any tips or gratuities they receive.
- All employees must be paid at least twice a month, and a pay period cannot be longer than 16 days.
- Coffee breaks are given at the discretion of an employer. However, there are specific rules around meal breaks. For example, employers must ensure employees do not work more than five hours without a meal break, and meal breaks must be at least half an hour long.
- If the employer asks an employee to attend training or meetings on an employee's day off or outside regular hours worked, the employee may be eligible for overtime, minimum daily pay or other entitlements.
- An employer may require an employee to work overtime as long as the employer pays the applicable overtime wage rates, and the hours worked are not excessive or detrimental to the employee's health or safety.
- If an employer requires an employee to wear a uniform or special clothing, the employer must provide, clean and maintain it at no cost to the employee.
- While employers are required to give notice of termination after three months of employment, employees are not required to give notice of an intention to quit. However, notice is appreciated by most employers and employees are encouraged to provide notice unless there is a concern the employer will not honour it.
- An employer may not ask employees to accept pay in lieu of annual vacation.
- The trip to/from the workplace is considered to be a commute and is not work. However, at times travel time should be paid - for example, when providing a work-related service while travelling or if the employee travels during the work day as instructed by the employer.
Young workers (15 to 24)
There are specific rules that apply to the employment of teenagers and young adults. For example:
- Under the occupational health and safety regulation, workers younger than 25 years of age must be given health and safety orientation and training that are specific to the workplace.
- Minors (under 19 years of age) may not be employed in places designated "liquor primary". Where permitted to work, (for example, restaurants), minors must always be under adult supervision.
- Young workers under 16 cannot work with pesticides.
- Young workers under 18 cannot work as a blaster or at a mine.
What are employment standards?
The Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum standards that apply to most non-unionized workplaces in B.C. The act covers wages, hours of work, breaks, allowable deductions, termination of employment and leaves of absence.
If you have questions about employment standards, you can visit one of the nine branches throughout the province, call 1 800 663-3316 or go online: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/
Information is available in English, French, Chinese, Punjabi, Hindi, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Spanish.
The act also has procedures to be followed if a dispute about employment standards occurs. Employers and employees are encouraged to resolve disputes themselves, and a self-help kit is available online. More information about this process can be found here: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/facshts/shk-employer.htm
Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government