This is a quick update and review of changes made over the last few months to the Canada Labour Code for Federally Regulated Employers.
First Nations government administrations are generally federally regulated, which means they must comply with the Canada Labour Code (“the Code”).
There may be exceptions to this where the delivery of certain services (for example education or child welfare) has been delegated to a society or to a corporate entity, in which case provincial legislation will apply. However, that is a topic for another day.
Federal Minimum Wage Increase
The most recent update is the increase to the federal minimum wage, which occurred on April 1, 2023. It has risen from $15.55 to $16.65 per hour.
Paid Sick Leave Entitlements
Another update, which occurred in December 2022, concerns paid sick leave. Employees are now entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave annually, and they qualify for the first three days after working for only 30 days. After that, they accumulate one additional day for each additional month worked, up to the maximum of 10 days per year. If your policy is to offer sick leave only after the employee completes their probation period, that will need to be amended to comply with the Code.
Also in December, Canada’s Employment Insurance sickness benefits were increased from a maximum of 15 weeks to 26 weeks. Employees who require such benefits receive 55% of their average weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $650 per week (as of this year).
Unpaid Medical Leave Extended
Finally, as of December 18, 2022, the maximum length of unpaid medical leave under the Canada Labour Code has also been extended, from 17 to 27 weeks, in step with the change to the increase in the EI sickness benefits entitlement.
Numerous changes have been made to the Canada Labour Code over the last couple of years, including introducing new forms of leave for employees (some paid and some unpaid), removing the seniority requirements to access maternity and parental leaves, and more. Employees are entitled to the benefits described in the Code even if they are not included in the employer’s policy manual.
If you think your employment policies might need updating, we would be pleased to help!