Changes have been introduced to Employment Standards in British Columbia. These regulations establish minimum standards that must be followed in the workplace.
One of the most notable changes is related to the employment of youth. The minimum age of employment has been raised from 12 years to 16 years.
If a child is under the age of 14, they can only work if permission is received from the Director of Employment Standards. If a child is 14 or 15, they can only work with a parent or guardian’s consent, and they can only perform “light work”. The term “light work” has not yet been defined in the regulations.
There has also been two new types of unpaid leave introduced.
Employees will now be able to take leave of up to 36 weeks a year to care for an ill or injured family member under the age of 19, and up to 16 weeks for those over 18.
In addition, victims of domestic or sexual violence can take up to 10 non-consecutive days off to deal with issues related to their abuse. They can be entitled to an additional 15 weeks of leave to deal with the consequences of that violence.
Another notable change is that employees can recover unpaid wages from the last 12 months. Previously they were limited to the last 6 months. This could even be expanded to 24 months in serious cases.
Several other small changes were also enacted. There are expected to be several other amendments to Employment Standards in the coming years.