Vancouver, B.C.-based Clear HR Consulting Inc. comprises a small group of acclaimed HR consultants, each with more than a decade of experience in their respective fields. Founded in 2004, we work with small- to medium-sized businesses in the Metro Vancouver region – ranging from professional services firms to construction companies to manufacturing operations – and deliver practical,..
Termination meetings are serious, sensitive discussions which require preparation and forethought. It is not easy for the manager who has to conduct the termination meeting, nor for the employee who is being terminated. It can be difficult and emotional to have this conversation and it isn’t unusual to be anxious or nervous about it.
Here are some tips on how to conduct a termination meeting effectively.
Plan for the Termination Meeting
Prior to the meeting, prepare what will be said, how it will be said and in what sequence.
Anticipate a variety of reactions that the employee may have, and prepare appropriate responses to those reasons. Common reactions include the employee acting in a shocked, angry, emotional, manipulative, and/or out-of-control manner.
Prepare for a brief 10 to 15 minute meeting.
Review the termination package and documentation to ensure you understand it all and can summarize it to the employee. If you are providing a severance package, make sure that you have consulted with an employment lawyer.
Ensure termination date is not the employee’s birthday, anniversary or company anniversary date.
Prepare a list of items you require back from the employee such as keys, pass cards, cell phone, laptop, company materials, etc.
Rehearse with someone else the flow of the meeting and what you will say.
Plan the logistics for the termination meeting:
Who will be in attendance?
Who will deliver the message?
Where will the meeting take place?
What time will the meeting take place?
What will remaining employees be told and when?
Will the employee be allowed to return to their desk to gather personal effects or must they leave immediately? If immediately, when can they come back for their things?
Arrange for a ride home for the employee, if necessary.
Make sure there is a box of tissues available in an inconspicuous place in the meeting room.
If the employee is to leave immediately, make sure the meeting location and exit are in close proximity; otherwise it will be awkward for the employee to have to walk through the entire office or workspace.
Regardless of the reason for the termination, ensure that the employee is treated as respectfully as possible during the meeting.
Advise any parties who need to be aware of the pending termination in advance, for instance:
Payroll to ensure appropriate actions are taken and payments are processed.
Information Technology to ensure that network access is cancelled, passwords are reset, etc.
Security/Police if you anticipate a volatile or violent employee response to the termination.
Outplacement or Employee Assistance Program provider if that is an option to be offered.
Communications/Public Relations advisors if it is a high profile termination.
Conduct the Termination Meeting
Meet with the employee in private, where you will not be interrupted.
Get to the point of the meeting quickly. Be clear and succinct, yet compassionate.
Advise the employee of the effective date of the termination.
Give a brief overview of the terms of the termination. You do not need to provide an extensive overview of the details of the package as the employee will likely not be able to process the information, especially if the termination comes as a surprise.
Allow the employee an opportunity to ask questions. Be empathetic and understanding in your response but avoid getting into a discussion about the merits of the termination decision.
Offer personal support and help, if possible, but not in terms of reversing a decision.
Discuss details concerning the transition and get required items back from the employee if he/she is to leave immediately. Make arrangements for the employee to gather personal effects, either after the meeting or arrange an alternate time/day.
If appropriate, thank the employee for their service and wish them well.
After the Termination Meeting
Advise remaining staff of the employee departure in an appropriate, respectful way. Do not go into the confidential details of the termination; however, do advise employees of the transition that will take place.
Process all final payments and documentation owing to the employee.
If the terminated employee has dealings with external parties, prepare communication to those parties.
Termination meetings are complicated and there are many issues to consider. Knowing how to conduct a termination meeting effectively requires preparation and careful consideration. Ensure that you consult with your employment legal counsel if you have any doubts regarding an employee termination. They would be best equipped to provide the most current, up-to-date information on your rights, responsibilities and obligations to employees.
What happens when an employee’s behaviour falls below your expectation? Perhaps their attitude is poor. Or they make too many minor mistakes. Maybe they try really hard but they still can’t get the job done. Or maybe they can’t do the job at all.
Over the years, we have received many frustrated calls from clients who have reached the end of their rope and want to sever ties with an employee. However, as we ask the client a few questions and dig a little deeper, we discover that they haven’t taken the proactive steps they could have with the employee to prevent the frustration from building. We discover that they haven’t ever told the employee that their performance is lacking, or that their attitude is a problem. We learn that they expect the employee to “just know” how to do their job without ever having given them clear instructions or guidance. We learn that the situation with the employee isn’t new and in some cases have been happening for years, even decades!
With the start of a new year, we have already heard from some clients that they want to clean house and let the ineffective employee go. Before going down that path, now would be an opportune time to review the performance management cycle and how to effectively manage employee performance.
The performance management cycle includes the following 4 steps:
1. Setting performance standards, goals & expectations
2. Observing performance
3. Providing coaching and training
4. Giving performance feedback
The performance management cycle forms a continuous loop which should be repeated again and again, formally and informally, to ensure that you are guiding and teaching employees to do what it takes to meet the company’s goals.
Follow these guidelines to help you put the performance management cycle into practice:
1. Set the stage
Clearly identify company goals, targets and objectives and communicate them to employees,
Explain to employees the importance of managing performance and providing performance feedback.
Discuss the importance of giving employee feedback on how their position contributes to the success of the company, how it helps to achieve the company’s goals and targets, what the employee is doing well and what needs to be improved.
Highlight that good performance management also provides an opportunity for employees to give feedback to the company on how it can improve and how to make the work environment better.
Feedback also allows an opportunity to discuss and document goals, targets, training and how you will work together going forward.
2. Set individual performance standards, expectations and goals
Each employee must know what their roles & responsibilities are (the “what” of their job) and what performance standards they must meet (the “how”).
Review job description
Part of setting expectations with employees includes reviewing an employee’s job description to confirm roles, responsibilities and expectations for the position.
Ensure that there continues to be a fit between the employee and the position.
Discuss and document areas where the employee may need assistance, support or training to accomplish the duties and responsibilities of their position.
Set job-specific standards & expectations against which to measure & review performance.
Discuss company-wide standards
Review company standards, policies and expectations that you have for all employees.
Company-wide standards can include such topics as:
Attendance & hours of work
How to interact with customers or clients
Respect in the workplace and how to treat employees
Performance management standards & processes
Use of company computer system and network
Set goals with employees
Goals can be set to develop employees’ competency in their current position, to enhance their current role, or to develop skills & talents to take on future roles in the company.
Goals should be SMART:
Specific – clear description of what needs to be achieved
Measurable – able to determine if results have been achieved
Achievable – possible to achieve the goal, yet challenging
Relevant – realistic and related to scope of job
Time-based – need a time frame by when the goal should be accomplished
3. Review options for observing performance
Once performance standards are established and communicated, you need to be able to observe employee performance to see if employees are meeting, exceeding or under-achieving their goals.
Many options exist to observe performance including:
Simply watching the employee on-the-job and seeing how they are performing.
Asking the employee directly about their own performance.
Asking co-workers, colleagues or team members about how an employee is performing.
Reviewing performance against the standards or metrics which have been set.
Obtaining feedback from clients and/or customers on employees.
4. Provide coaching, training and mentoring, as needed
Seldom can an employee excel in a position without guidance and some amount of training, coaching or mentoring.
Informal (on-the-job) coaching & training:
Observe employees in their everyday setting.
Provide guidance, training & feedback, as needed.
Ensure that you are not micro-managing an employee.
Provide immediate, on-going, informal feedback.
Involve other employees (e.g. co-workers, team members, direct reports) in the process.
Schedule informal meetings on a regular basis (e.g. weekly, monthly).
Discuss strong points and weak points of the employee during the meeting.
Consider providing regular feedback on what the employee needs to do “more of”, “less of” or to “continue doing”.
These meetings are non-disciplinary in nature – are discussions only.
Used to motivate employees to do well and to discuss areas where you can support them.
Used to document performance progress (e.g. performance reviews, annual reviews).
Hold a formal meeting upon hire so that all expectations are clearly expressed.
Reiterate your expectations.
Confirm specific assistance you will provide.
Often used to discuss on-going problem areas as well as development opportunities.
5. Provide performance feedback
Performance feedback tells employees how they are performing in relation to expectations, standards & goals.
Feedback process is used for both positive and negative feedback, both of which are essential for maintaining excellent performance.
Feedback should go both ways – from the manager to the employee and from the employee to their manager. Both sides should give feedback to each other on a formal or informal basis.
Determine the options that make sense for your company on how feedback should be provided.
Possible options include:
Ad hoc feedback, as required, electronically or verbally
Informal staff meetings
One-on-one meetings between manager and employee
Regular performance review
Remember, the performance management cycle is a continuous loop of setting expectations, observing performance, coaching & training, providing feedback, setting expectations…. etc. If you were to do only one thing, be sure to conduct regular one-on-one meetings with your staff and tell them what they’re doing well, where they need to improve, and determine the support they need to achieve their goals. By doing this, you will reduce your employee headaches and improve your results.
For assistance with implementing the performance management cycle for your Vancouver-based small business, please contact Clear HR Consulting.
Copyright Clear HR Consulting. All rights reserved.
We have noticed a considerable increase in the frequency of workplace harassment related inquiries, concerns and possible allegations from our clients over the past year. Some questions are to clarify what is or isn’t harassment; some are to discuss potential risks that haven’t yet turned into employee complaints; and some are outright cries for help to deal with a harassment or bullying complaint.
The groundwork has been laid for these sensitive and, often difficult, conversations to occur in the workplace. Better yet, more employers are making a concerted effort to create safer work environments. They are providing a forum to educate and train both employees and managers on their rights and responsibilities in the workplace as it relates to harassment and bullying. More and more employees are feeling empowered to voice their concerns.
One question, however, that is consistently raised, but is difficult to answer is: We had a workplace harassment complaint and found harassment to have occurred. We’ve disciplined the offending employee but felt that firing them was too harsh a consequence. How do we get the employees to move on from here?
This can be a very difficult situation for all parties involved. Let’s take a look at some possible actions you can take to address this not uncommon scenario.
Make Sure Employees Know that Findings of Harassment Won’t Necessarily Result in a Termination
If a complaint is made and harassment is proven, an employer needs to take action. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, corrective action could result in termination of employment. However, it doesn’t always. In some circumstances, a disciplinary warning along with an apology to the complainant may be appropriate.
When a workplace harassment allegation is brought forward, an employer’s obligation is to make sure that any inappropriate behaviour stops and that all employees work in a respectful, safe environment, free from harassment. Typically, when a complaint is raised, we would recommend that the employer conduct an investigation into the allegations, either on their own or with the assistance of an independent 3rd party investigator.
Based on the investigation, a determination would be made whether harassment occurred, and if so, what corrective actions need to be taken. Termination of employment would be the likely outcome for the most serious of offences where the harasser can no longer be trusted to work in the workplace. More commonly, the inappropriate behaviour was unacceptable but not something that an employee would lose their job over.
When a complaint is made, it’s also important to understand what the employee expects as the appropriate remedy should harassment be proven. Employees should be aware of the process that will be followed, and what the potential outcomes could be.
Mediate a Conversation Between the Complainant and the Harasser
After conducting an investigation, it is important to advise both parties of the outcome of the investigation, what corrective actions you’ve taken, and what your expectations are going forward.
After this, you can consider whether there needs to be a “clear the air” meeting between the complainant and the harasser. This is a good opportunity for the harasser to apologize for their behaviour and for the employees to talk through how they will continue to work together.
It could be awkward for both parties to be in the same room together, and either or both parties may feel uncomfortable interacting with the other. You’ll need to be sensitive to the feelings and emotions of both employees and determine whether this type of mediated conversation will help make things better.
Separate the Employees in the Workplace
It may be that the parties will be uncomfortable working together going forward. If possible, try to minimize the employees’ interaction in the short-term, and perhaps into the long term. Put them on different shifts. Alter their break times. Have them work on different teams or different projects. Re-distribute work so that their interactions are reduced. Find ways to make sure they are not working alone together.
This could be a way to minimize the discomfort and, hopefully, if enough time passes and if there are no further incidents, their working relationship will improve.
Recommend the Employees Seek External Counselling
A workplace harassment situation can trigger strong emotions or reactions that the employee (either the complainant or the alleged harasser) has difficulty managing. The complainant might continue to feel hurt or offended long after others have put it behind them. Sometimes the harassing behaviours bring up prior traumas that the employee is having difficulty coping with. Or perhaps the harasser feels shame and embarrassment that makes them not able to work productively.
If you notice that any party is having difficulty handling the situation, recommend that they talk to a counsellor to help them. Refer them to your Employee and Family Assistance Program. Encourage them to speak to their family doctor to get help.
Prepare for the Situation Where Either or Both Parties Choose to Leave the Company
It is not uncommon for one or both parties in a workplace harassment situation to choose to leave the company. While this is usually not the preferred outcome, you need to plan that an employee might be so unhappy about the harassment situation that they feel they need to exit the workplace.
We’ve seen complainants leave because they’re not comfortable in the workplace anymore, despite a genuine apology and no further incidents occurring. We’ve seen employees who have been found guilty of harassment choose to leave because they just don’t want the stigma and want a fresh start somewhere else.
As an employer, you need to be prepared for the possibility that the parties involved may choose to resign. Ensure you have a communication plan and a contingency plan in place to deal with these potential departures.
There is no simple answer on how to handle the after effects of a workplace harassment complaint. Ideally, the harasser acknowledges their behaviour as inappropriate and offers a genuine apology and assurance that the behaviour won’t happen again. For the complainant, it would be preferable if they accept the apology and can put the situation behind them.
As an employer, your best course of action is to ensure there is a workplace harassment policy in place and that employees are trained and know what steps to take if they are being harassed. It is also imperative that employers continue to foster a respectful, harassment-free work environment where all employees feel safe.
As of October 17, 2018, marijuana is now legalized in Canada. Whether you support this move or are strictly anti-cannabis, it’s now time for you, as an employer, to make sure your company has the policies and procedures in place to deal with the potential impact on your workplace.
We’ve been telling employers for months that just because cannabis will be legalized, doesn’t mean that you need to let your employees use marijuana whenever they want.
Practically speaking, marijuana can be treated like alcohol, prescription drugs or any other controlled substance that could cause impairment. Alcohol is legal but employees can’t drink whenever they wish at work. You set policies that are appropriate for your workplace, keeping in mind the health and safety of your staff.
When updating your company policies for marijuana, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
1. Fit to Work – The priority for all companies should be that employees attend work, fit to work. If they are impaired and are not fit to work, for any reason, they should not be working or should be temporarily removed from their position. Whether the impairment is caused by drug or alcohol use, illness or over-tiredness, your company policy should clearly state that employees need to be fit to work. Focus on the issue of impairment rather than on marijuana use.
2. Safety-Sensitive Positions – Safety-sensitive positions are those which require focused attention and where performance of that function can affect the safety of the employee or others, while failure to perform the job well can cause harm or injury. Where safety-sensitive positions exist, employers need to ensure that their health and safety policies and drug/alcohol policies reflect a zero tolerance for drug and/or alcohol use while working and, if reasonable and necessary, prior to working.
Some organizations, like the RCMP, have caused an uproar by implementing a policy that bars cannabis use by members within 28 days of a shift. Other organizations are being less restrictive but still reflect the fact that marijuana can linger in your blood for some time after consuming the drug.
3. Disclosure & Accommodation – If you plan to implement a zero-tolerance policy for using drugs at work, it is also worthwhile to communicate what the process is should the employee need any sort of accommodation for their drug use (e.g. if they have a drug addiction) or if they need medical marijuana to manage a health issue. Included in your policy could be the requirement for an employee to disclose any issues related to drug use or drug dependency, prior to their being a problem or incident. The landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision in Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corp (2017 SCC 30) reinforces the right of employers to take proactive measures through their drug and alcohol policies to protect worker safety.
4. Testing for Impairment – Unlike alcohol where blood alcohol levels correlate to impairment, there is not yet an effective and reliable way to measure impairment due to marijuana use. Until such time that a reliable and valid test is developed to measure impairment, employers need to be careful about drug testing. Random or mandatory drug testing is only permissible under certain limited circumstances and, for marijuana, will only show the drug in one’s system, but will not show impairment. Make sure your policies reflect how and when drug testing will be used, if at all.
5. Multiple Forms of Cannabis – Since cannabis can come in many forms and can be consumed in many ways, be clear on the type of cannabis use you are referring to in your company’s policies. For example, does your policy just cover employees smoking marijuana? What about if they are consuming edible marijuana products, or use cannabis-based oils or tinctures?
Also, with there being two natural compounds found in cannabis, THC, which is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana which causes the “high”, and CBD, a non-psychoactive compound which does not produce the high, you need to be prepared to answer employees’ questions about using cannabis without THC.
Our recommendation is to focus on the impairment aspect of marijuana use, rather than focusing on all the different forms of cannabis and their various components.
Our best piece of advice for most employers is to be practical and reasonable and not over-react to the legalization of cannabis. While there are certain workplaces where strict rules and policies are absolutely required, the typical workplace or office environment does not need to be “over-policied”.
For employees seeking treatment with medical marijuana, we suggest treating these employee requests similar to how you treat employees who require prescription drugs. Gather further information on when and what doses of drugs are required, what side effects there may be, how long the prescribed drug will be required, what accommodation would be required, and any potential impairment there would be to using the drug.
For recreational marijuana use, we suggest treating this similar to alcohol use. Communicate when consumption is permitted (e.g. personal time only) and not permitted (e.g. during work hours or work functions outside of regular hours) and the requirement that employees need to be free from the impairing effects of any drug or alcohol when they are at work. Being legalized doesn’t mean marijuana can be used at the employee’s sole discretion.
As workplaces adjust to the legalization of marijuana in Canada, we are positive that the hype and worry will dissipate and that best practices will emerge that we can all learn from.
For assistance to help clarify your company’s HR policies, please contact us.
Copyright Clear HR Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.
The EHT will apply to B.C. employers beginning January 1, 2019.
The EHT will apply to employers with a B.C. payroll of over $500,000 and to each B.C. location of a charity or non-profit employer with a payroll of over $1,500,000.
Payroll includes all employment income and taxable benefits under the Income Tax Act, essentially any employment income included in Box 14 of a T4 slip.
Employers with B.C. payroll will pay the following EHT:
$500,000 or less: no EHT
Between $500,001 and $1,500,000: 2.925% x (Payroll – $500,000)
Greater than $1,500,000: 1.95% x Payroll
Charity and non-profit employers with B.C. payroll will calculate the EHT for each of their B.C. locations and pay the total of each location’s EHT. Each location with B.C. payroll will pay the following EHT:
$1,500,000 or less: no EHT
Between $1,500,001 and $4,500,000 – 2.925% x (Payroll for the location – $1,500,000)
Greater than $4,500,000: 1.95% x Payroll for the location
Registration for filing and paying the employer health tax will start in January 2019.
The EHT will be paid via quarterly instalments:
March 31 – final payment with return.
Specific details are still being worked out by the B.C. provincial government. It is expected that the Employer Health Tax legislation will be enacted in the fall of 2018, at which time, further information should become available.
In preparation for the new legislation, B.C. employers should plan for the following:
If your payroll exceeds the EHT exemption amounts, ensure your 2019 budget takes the EHT into consideration. Up to an additional 1.95% of your payroll will need to be added to your total compensation costs.
Keep in mind that EHT will apply to bonuses, signing bonuses, non-compete payments, commissions, gratuities paid to employees through their employer, advances, vacation pay, EI top-up payments, employer-paid RRSP contributions and a number of other taxable benefits.
For employers who pay for employees’ MSP premiums, MSP premiums will continue until January 1, 2020. For these employers, should your payroll exceed the EHT exemption limit, you will be required to pay both EHT and the MSP premiums in 2019.
On May 17, 2018, amendments to BC Employment Standards Act came into effect. These changes bring the province’s pregnancy, parental and compassionate care leave provisions in line with changes to the Employment Insurance Act which came into effect in December 2017. The amendments also introduce two new job-protected leaves related to the death or crime-related disappearance of a child.
Provincially-regulated employers in BC should be aware of the following amendments:
A parent who takes pregnancy leave can take up to 61 consecutive weeks (previously 35 weeks) of unpaid leave immediately after the end of her pregnancy leave.
A parent who does not take pregnancy leave can take up to 62 consecutive weeks (previously 37 weeks) of unpaid leave, which must begin within 78 weeks (previously 52 weeks) after the birth of the child.
An adopting parent can take up to 62 consecutive weeks (previously 37 weeks) of unpaid leave, which must begin within 78 weeks (previously 52 weeks) after the child is placed with the parent.
The combined entitlement for pregnancy and parental leave is limited to 78 weeks which is 18 months (previously 52 weeks).
If on May 17, 2018, an employee with a child born on or after December 3, 2017 is already taking parental leave, they are eligible for the full amount of parental leave they are entitled to under the new legislation, minus the period of parental leave already taken as of May 17, 2018.
Employees are eligible for up to 27 weeks (previously 8 weeks) of unpaid leave within a 52 week period to provide care or support to a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.
An employee whose child under 19 years of age dies is entitled to up to 104 weeks of unpaid leave of absence from work, starting as of the date of death or after a child who has disappeared is found deceased.
For these job-protected leaves, the BC Employment Standards Act also contains other relevant provisions:
Continuous employment – While on any of the leaves of absence noted above, employment is considered continuous for the purposes of calculating annual vacation and termination entitlements, as well as for medical or other plans of benefit to the employee. An employer must continue to make payments to any such plans unless the employee chooses not to continue their share of the cost of the plan. The employee is also entitled to all increases in wages and benefits that the employee would have received had they not been on leave.
Conditions of employment – An employer cannot terminate an employee, or change a condition of employment, because of the leave, without the employee’s written consent.
Return to work – When the leave ends, an employee should be returned to their former position or to a comparable position. It is the employer’s responsibility to contact the employee to make arrangements for their return to work.
As with any new government, employers can expect additional reviews to be conducted of provincial employment legislation. Other changes to the BC Employment Standards Act, the BC Labour Relations Code, the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act may be forthcoming in the near future.
We’re proud to announce that Clear HR Consulting has been selected as a 2018 Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Awards winner in the category of HR Management Consultants.
“We were overwhelmed at the response from HR professionals this year,” said Todd Humber, publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter. “More than 65,000 votes were cast in total, which is an unprecedented level of engagement as the prestigious awards competition marks its third year.”
Some facts about the 2018 Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Awards competition:
Voting was conducted in February and March 2018;
Close to 3,000 readers cast nearly 65,000 ballots in total;
Top 3 vote-getters chosen in each category were selected as the winners.
The winners were announced in the July 2018 edition of Canadian HR Reporter, as well as in a special digital edition.
We’re so thrilled to be a two-time recipient of a Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Award in the category of HR Management Consultants. Congratulations to all the winners. Thank you to everyone who voted for us!
It’s the start of the year and we’ve been inundated with questions from clients regarding employee vacation rules in BC. We reached out to the British Columbia Employment Standards Branch for clarification on vacation rules in BC and here’s what they had to say:
Q: For salaried employees, if we only track vacation in terms of time off and continue to pay employees their regular salary while they are off, do we need to pay vacation pay on bonuses and other extraordinary payments?
A: The answer is, of course, it depends. The BC Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) requires employers to provide vacation pay of at least 4% of employee’s wages during the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation pay and 6% of total wages after 5 years of employment. “Wages” includes all money paid to an employee which meets the definition of “wages” under section 1 of the ESA. This also includes overtime, statutory holiday pay, bonuses, previously paid vacation pay, and compensation for length of service in the event of a termination.
If an employer stipulates in the employment agreement that employees are entitled to a certain number of weeks of paid vacation time, without referencing the % of vacation pay accrual, as long as the dollar value of the annual paid vacation (i.e. their salary during the vacation time taken) exceeds the minimum ESA requirement of 4% of the year’s earnings (or 6% if greater than 5 years of service), the employer won’t need to do anything else. If 4% (or 6%) of the year’s earnings is greater than the salary received during the vacation time off, then the employer would owe additional vacation pay for the difference.
Even if vacation is tracked as time off only, employers should still be calculating what 4% (or 6%) of total earnings are along the way so that they will know if there are any additional funds owing to the employee.
Example 1: Joe’s employment contract says that he gets 4 weeks of paid vacation each year, no reference to vacation accrual, and he’s worked for the company for 2 years. If the total value of the 4 weeks of vacation is higher than 4% of his total annual wages, then the employer is not in violation of the ESA.
Example 2: Joe’s employment contract says that he gets 4 weeks of paid vacation, accrued at the rate of 8% of total wages. The employer would need to calculate 8% of total earnings and pay him out anything else that exceeds the 4 weeks of paid vacation.
Q: The ESA says that employees are not entitled to annual vacation until after 12 months of employment. If we allow employees to take vacation in the year earned rather than waiting 12 months, does this pose any problems?
A: If employers allow employees to take vacation in the year earned, rather than needing to wait a year, this is considered a benefit to employees and exceeds the requirements of the ESA. However, if the employer does not specify that this time is vacation taken in advance of being earned, the Employment Standards Branch would consider the advance vacation pay as a bonus payment and not vacation pay, and employers would be still be on the hook for vacation time and vacation pay.
The recommendation is that employers should have a written agreement with employees, separate from their employment agreement, that explicitly states that employees can take vacation in the year earned and that this is considered vacation granted in advance. See the section part way down this link that says Vacation granted in advance for more information.
Q: If employees are granted vacation in advance of the entitlement, there is a chance that they could leave the company and have taken more vacation than they’ve earned. Can an employer deduct any overpayment of vacation pay from the employee’s final pay cheque?
A: Employers cannot deduct vacation taken but not earned from an employee’s final pay without the employee’s express agreement in a written assignment of wages per Section 22(4) of the ESA. The purpose of the written assignment is to provide the employee’s authorization to deduct a specific dollar amount from their pay cheque. Otherwise, you can’t deduct the amount of vacation pay owing from their final pay.
Q: Can employees carry forward unused vacation days into the following year?
A: The answer depends on your company policy. If an employer lets an employee take vacation in the year earned rather than waiting 12 months, and the ESA says that employees have until the end of the following year to use their vacation, the agent we spoke to said that employees have until the end of the year after which they earn vacation to use it. However, there’s nothing stopping an employer from saying that all employees are encouraged to take vacation in the year earned and that carry overs are on an exception basis only.
Employers should be setting policies on when vacation should be used. It was confirmed that employers are fine to say that vacation must be used by the end of the year. But, there can’t be a use it or lose it policy because employees technically have until 12 months after earning vacation to use it.
Please note that the vacation rules in BC apply to non-union employers only. If you operate elsewhere in Canada, check with your province’s employment standards branch for more information.
Since the retirement announcement, there has been an outpouring of praise and admiration from their peers about not only their on-ice play and their impact on the game of hockey, but also of their character. The electric atmosphere at their final home game on April 5, 2018 was punctuated with a storybook ending as Daniel Sedin scored the game winner in overtime on a pass from Henrik Sedin.
In recognition of their remarkable accomplishments and contributions to the community, we offer some leadership lessons from Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
1. Shoulder the Blame, Share the Credit
As Assistant Captain and Captain, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin have been leaders of the Vancouver Canucks for many years. During tough times, they have stood front and centre in the locker room answering questions from the media, and shouldering the negative attention away from their teammates. During good times, they stood back, and let their teammates get the positive attention. They are accountable for mistakes made and are quick to share recognition of their accomplishments with their coaches, teammates, support staff and family.
Leaders today can learn from their ability to take responsibility, to be accountable, and to share credit with others.
2. Be Humble
One constant that you hear about the Sedins is how humble they are. Many superstars are known for their egos, but Daniel and Henrik demonstrated themselves as down-to-earth, regular people. They treat everyone around them with dignity and respect, whether they are teammates, support staff, or fans. Like many, they value their families, and in retirement want to be able to do things that many of us take for granted – be home for dinner, take their kids to their sports practices and games, and attend their birthday parties.
Keep your ego in check. Be gracious in both success and defeat. Speak less and listen more. All are leadership lessons that can be learned from the Sedins.
3. Set a Positive Example
Teammates and coaches alike praise Daniel and Henrik for their unparalleled work ethic. They work extremely hard in the off season on their fitness and skills. During the season, they always give their best in practices and gym sessions. They have lead the team in fitness measurements in training camp for many years, even as they have aged. They are able to maintain an even keel, regardless of whether they had a four-point night or were minus 4 on the score sheet in a blowout loss.
As a leader, you don’t need to have all the answers, but you need to work hard and set a positive example.
4. Be a Mentor
When they started in the NHL as 20-year olds, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin were mentored by great Canuck leaders, including Markus Naslund and Trevor Linden. Once they became the front-line players, they carried forward the leadership culture and demonstrated to the younger players the work ethic expected of a professional with the Vancouver hockey club. Bo Horvat, often touted as a future Captain for the team, raves about the lessons he has learned over his four years of playing with the Sedins.
Their quiet professionalism, coupled with being the hardest working members of the team, contributed to the culture of the organization and provided an example for how younger players should conduct themselves.
For companies today, having strong mentors in your leadership team helps to set the stage for future leaders and allows for a strong succession plan.
5. Get Involved in Your Community
Daniel and Henrik made a large donation to the BC Children’s Hospital, but wanted it to remain anonymous. Only after they were persuaded by the Hospital Foundation that promotion of their donation would lead to more donations did they agree to go public. They have made many visits to the hospital, to brighten the day of those dealing with difficult medical situations. Together, along with their spouses, they created the Sedin Family Foundation to work with schools, community groups and social service agencies to make a difference for children and families in BC.
Contributing to the community in which you live and work is an essential part of being a successful leader. Not only is it important to help those who need it, the joy and fulfillment that comes from giving back and the ability to look outside of yourself will make you a stronger leader.
The Vancouver Canucks will retire the jerseys of Daniel and Henrik Sedin in the near future, and once eligible, in our opinion, they should be selected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. What is not in doubt, is that their character and leadership qualities are of Hall of Fame stature. Vancouver will miss them tremendously and we have been fortunate to have been able to watch them over the course of their entire NHL career. Thank you Daniel and Henrik!
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