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Do you know what the minimum wage in Ontario is? The Employment Standards Act (ESA) outlines the current minimum wage rates that employers are required to comply with. Make sure you understand your responsibilities as an employer when it comes to paying employees a fair wage.

What is Minimum Wage?

Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer can legally pay an employee. Full-time, part-time, and casual employees are all eligible for minimum wage, whether they are paid an hourly rate, commission, piece rate, flat rate, or salary. The Employment Standards Act exempts several industries from the minimum wage requirements, including but not limited to federally-regulated industries, students doing a co-opt, and others which can be found here.

What is the Minimum Wage in Ontario?

Ontario’s minimum wage was increased on January 1st, 2018. In addition to a general minimum wage, there is a different minimum wage for students, liquor servers, hunting and finishing guides, and homeworkers. Employers are responsible for paying employees the appropriate minimum wage rate.

The minimum wage rates for Ontario are:

  • General minimum wage: $14.00 per hour
  • Student minimum wage: $13.15 per hour
  • Liquor servers minimum wage: $12.20 per hour
  • Hunting and fishing guides minimum wage: $70.00 (rates for working less than five consecutive hours in a day) or $140.00 (rates for working five or more hours in a day, whether or not they are consecutive)
  • Homeworkers wage: $15.40 per hour
Ontario Minimum Wage Changes

There have been a number of changes regarding minimum wage in Ontario over the past few years. Former Premier Kathleen Wynne had plans to further increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour in 2019; however, the new Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, has repealed this additional increase to the minimum wage. Accordingly, the rate of $14.00 per hour will remain in place until September 30th, 2020. Starting on October 1, 2020 the minimum wage may increase annually.

If a minimum wage rate change comes into effect partway through an employee’s pay period, their pay period will be treated as two separate pay periods. The employee will be entitled to the appropriate minimum wage rate for each pay period. If you need help managing minimum wage payments for your employees, please contact our HR experts at 1 (833) 247-3652.

The post Minimum Wage Ontario Guidelines appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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I’ve just been reading a great book by Ryan Holiday called, “The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs.” I’d recommend it highly.

A common characteristic of great CEOs and business leaders is that they read widely. And not just business-related writing, but all sorts of books from a range of genres on a variety of topics.

So it’s worth learning from the best practitioners of management and business. Take a leaf, literally, from their book. Keep your mind open, never stop learning, read widely, and read often.

What can Holiday teach you?

One of the quotes that stood out to me from Holiday’s book is this: “Bad companies are destroyed by crises. Good companies survive them. Great individuals, like great companies, find a way to transform a weakness into a strength.”

In saying this, Holiday is essentially rephrasing Nietzsche’s famous quote: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

He’s inviting us to think again about how we perceive and how we deal with difficult situations.

It’s not just an entrepreneurial philosophy but could apply to any walk of life. The way we perceive problems and difficulties is absolutely key to the way we then approach and handle them.

Failures and obstacles are a natural part of life and of the road to success. They educate and strengthen us to handle the next situation we face better.

  How to thrive in adversity

Some of the tactics that Holiday recommends when evaluating a situation are applicable when facing difficult times in business, such as:

– Remaining objective
– Controlling emotions
– Seeing the good in situations
– Focusing only on the things that are in your control
– Trying to keep things in perspective

According to Holiday, this enables you to always to focus on what the opportunity is in any given situation, however difficult it may seem at that particular moment.

It obviously requires a tremendous level of self-discipline and practice, but it will always help you to see the wood for the trees in times of crisis.

As Holiday says, it may be simple but it isn’t easy.

  Thomas Edison: more than just a great inventor

A quick example. Edison’s library burned down when he was 67, the fire taking with it a lifetime of experiments, prototypes, and notes.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Edison said to his son, “It’s all right. We’ve just got rid of a lot of rubbish.”

He was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “Although I’m over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.”

He saw it as a fresh start and went on to make more than $10 million in revenue the following year.

My approach in a crisis

Obstacles rear up. Accidents happen. Crises develop. That’s all part of business.

I’ve faced quite a few in my time, which I talk about in more detail in a recent interview with the Manchester Evening News.

It’s how you deal with difficulty that matters. That’s what will differentiate a bad business, from a good business, from a great business.

Having good advisers around you is essential in a crisis and that is something you are able to control.

Whilst we can’t help you with every situation, if you’re facing problems relating to employment relations or health & safety, then always be sure to call our team at Peninsula on 833-247-3652.

The post Here’s what I know: bad times can be the making of your company (and of you) appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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Nothing lights up a room quite like a cute puppy. As soon as one comes bounding in, everyone stops what they’re doing and crowds around, waiting for their turn to play with it.

Many companies have noticed the positive effect that dogs have on their staff, and schemes like Bring Your Dog to Work Day are becoming more popular.

But before you rush to the nearest shelter, here’s what you need to consider…

Ask your staff

Do an anonymous survey among your employees to find out how they’d feel about having dogs around. This will let you find out if any of your staff are allergic to dogs, are afraid of them, or simply find them too distracting.

Remember that not everyone is a dog person, and no one should feel uncomfortable while at work.

Come up with a clear policy

Once you’ve got feedback from your employees, make a policy that lays down guidelines for bringing dogs to work. Decide if you’ll allow staff to bring their dogs in every day, or only on certain days. For example, the last Friday of the month.

A good process to follow so your staff are able to take their four-legged friends to work with them could be:

  1. Staff must fill out a survey about their dog’s habits.
  2. An independent specialist guides the dog through 12 simple exercises, including a test of how it reacts to new people and its ability to follow simple requests. The dog must also undergo a full health check.
  3. The dog then gets a three-month probationary period, during which the company checks its behaviour to make sure it gets on with everyone.

Your policy should also cover who’s responsible for the dog’s behaviour during work hours, and the amount of time you’ll allow staff to play with their pets.

Create dog-friendly and dog-free areas

Not every area in a workplace is suited to dogs. You probably don’t want a hyperactive Jack Russell jumping onto you while you’re trying to deliver a killer presentation in the boardroom. The canteen should also be off limits.

If your workplace is big enough, you could allocate dog-friendly lifts, meeting rooms and communal areas where dogs can roam free.

Don’t forget your risk assessment

While studies show that dogs reduce workplace stress, your health & safety officer might disagree. Bringing live animals into a workplace creates all sorts of new risks.

What might happen if someone’s Labrador chews through wiring or wreaks havoc on the office furniture?

Your new furry guests could also invalidate your liability insurance and compromise your fire safety certificate if you don’t include them in your risk assessment.

So what’s the verdict?

All in all, allowing dogs into the workplace can be a great idea. They make people happier and help create a fun workplace.

But as we’ve seen, there’s a lot you need to consider. If you run a small business, you need to decide if creating a dog-friendly (and dog-proof) workplace is worth the effort.

The post Dogs in the workplace—genius or disaster? appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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If you’re letting someone go, employers should be aware that the employee may be entitled to compensation. “Severance pay” is paid to compensate for the losses of qualified employees who have had their employment “severed”.  Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) carefully outlines the rules and guidelines around what is owed and to whom.

Which employees are qualified for severance pay?

According to the ESA, only certain employees qualify to receive severance pay. Employees are only eligible for this form of compensation if:

  • They have worked for the employer for five years or more; and
  • The employer managed a minimum payroll of $2.5 million, or
  • The employer has terminated 50 or more employees in a six month period due to the business permanently closing

Employers can sever an employee’s employment due to the company filing for bankruptcy, insolvency, or if they are permanently closing. Severance pay is not typically paid if the employee is terminated due to inappropriate conduct or has failed to meet job expectations.

When is an employee exempt from severance pay?

A qualified employee is not always entitled to severance pay. The ESA outlines exemptions to paying out. Exemptions can be complex, so it’s recommended that employers seek HR advice.

An employee is not entitled to severance pay if they:

  • Refuse an offer of “reasonable alternative employment” with the employer
  • Had their employment severed and retire on a full pension
  • Had their employment severed due to the business closing due to the economic effects of a strike
  • Is guilty of willful misconduct, job abandonment, disobedience, or willful neglect of duty

For a complete list of exemptions please consult Ontario’s Labor Law.

How is severance pay calculated in Ontario?

Severance pay in Ontario is calculated using a simple formula. An employer should multiply the employee’s regular wages for a typical workweek by the sum of the number of years the employee has served plus the number of months divided by 12 for partial years.

If you need help calculating severance pay or determining if an employee is eligible for this type of compensation, contact us at 1-833-247-3652.

The post Rules Surrounding Ontario Severance Pay appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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Terminating an employee is never an easy job. As an employer, you are required to follow the Employment Standards Act, which outlines the legislation surrounding termination of employment including termination notice periods. Here are five key things employers should know before giving notice to an employee.

Employees Are Entitled to Written Notice

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) states that employees are entitled to written notice about employment termination. If they have been working for an employer for at least three months, the employer must give them an official notice of termination. Written notice should be addressed to the employee. It can be provided in person, or by mail, fax, or e-mail. Delivery needs to be able to be verified.

The Amount of Notice Depends on Employment Length

Employers may be wondering how much notice they have to give for employee termination. That length depends on how long the employee has been working for the business.  If the employee has been continuously employed for at least three months, they are entitled to the following notice periods:

  • Less than 1 year: 1 week notice
  • 1 year but less than 3 years: 2 weeks notice
  • 3 years but less than 4 years: 3 weeks
  • 4 years but less than 5 years: 4 weeks
  • 5 years but less than 6 years: 5 weeks
  • 6 years but less than 7 years: 6 weeks
  • 7 years but less than 8 years: 7 weeks
  • 8 years or more: 8 weeks
Continue Regular Employment After Giving Notice

The period after giving notice, and before termination is complete, is known as the statutory notice period. During this time employers must not reduce wages or alter the conditions of employment. They also are required to continue to maintain employee benefit plans. Employers must also pay the employee all the wages they are entitled too.

Notice Periods Can be Shorted By Providing Termination Pay

If an employer wishes to not wait the duration of the notice period or does not provide written notice to the employee, they must provide termination pay. Termination pay in lieu of notice is a lump sum payment equal to the regular wages for a regular workweek for the employee. Termination pay must be paid to the employee either seven days after termination or on the employee’s next regular payday, whichever is later.

Not All Employees are Entitled to Notice Periods

According to the ESA, not all employees are entitled to a notice of termination or a notice period. Employees who are guilty of willful misconduct, job abandonment, disobedience, or willful neglect do not have to be given notice. Other exceptions include construction employees, employees on temporary layoff, employees who refuse reasonable alternative employment and employees who have been employed less than three months. If you need help determining whether an employee is entitled to termination notice call our employer advice line at 1-833-247-3652.

The post 5 Things You Need to Know About Employee Notice Periods appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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Do you feel like productivity is lacking in your workplace? Productivity is key to any successful business, but it doesn’t always come easily.  As an employer, you may be wondering what you can do to boost morale and office efficiency. A few small changes may be all you need to maximize productivity in your company.

Ask for Suggestions

If you’re wondering how to improve workplace productivity, why not ask the employees? Companies that look for feedback and ideas from all places are the ones that thrive. Why not go to the employees themselves to ask what would make them more productive? They could have great ideas on how to be more efficient or on ways to improve morale. Asking for suggestions also makes employees feel heard and respected, which also does wonders for productivity.

Provide the Proper Tools

It’s unrealistic to expect employees to do their job efficiently and well if they don’t have the right tools. Make sure the workspace has the necessary equipment for people to do their jobs. Outdated or broken technology is a major hurdle these days for productivity. It can be frustrating and inefficient to work with improper tools, and not only will that slow down an employee’s work it may also make them unmotivated to do a good job.

Consider Flexible Working

The traditional nine-to-five, five days a week, work schedule hasn’t changed since the Industrial Revolution. New studies have shown that many industries could benefit from a more flexible work schedule. Allowing employees to work from home, only working four days, or allowing them to come in when they like as long as they meet a set number of hours could all improve productivity. Not all employees work the same, and employers often find that flexible working allows employees to find the most productive schedule for themselves.

Offer Support and Positive Reinforcement

There are two approaches to improving workplace productivity – the stick or the carrot. Instead of dealing out punishments and managing with fear, try positive reinforcement. Encourage, motivate and reward your employees. This gives them incentive to do a good job.  Make sure you also have support systems in place for employees that may be struggling with personal issues, mental health problems or workplace tensions. Open and honest communication is a great way to maximize productivity in the workplace.

Improve Work Culture

A happy employee is a productive employee. Workplace tensions, excessive stress, sexual harassment, and other issues can all make employees unhappy. When employees feel respected and valued, they will work better. If your workplace has an unhealthy environment take steps to improve it. A toxic workplace benefits no one. Make sure you have HR policies in place to deal with issues. Feel free to call us on our 24-hour employer advice line if you need help putting these in place.

The post How to Maximize Productivity in the Workplace appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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New rules came into force across Ontario on November 1st, 2018 standardizing the types of police record checks that can be performed. It’s important for all employers to be aware that they can now only request a police record check on an employee or prospective employee only if they have that person’s written consent.

What do the rules state?

Under the new rules when an employer requests a background check, the information contained in the background will first be sent to the employee or prospective employee so that they can check the factual accuracy of the information before it is released. It’s also important to understand that the records checks may have a discriminatory effect, especially for people with mental health conditions.

Any background check should only be used for the purpose of vetting a suitable employee. Deliberate contravention of the Act is an offence and can result in a fine of up to $5,000 upon conviction.

Police Record Checks

Under the Police Record Checks Reform Act there are three types of record check:

  • Criminal record checks
  • Criminal record checks and judicial matters checks; and
  • Vulnerable sector checks.

The criminal record check is the most basic type of check that employers may request. It usually includes information about any criminal convictions that a person may have. Many employers require a criminal record and judicial matters check that provides information on criminal convictions and any outstanding charges or arrest warrant for a criminal conviction as well as any court orders. The vulnerable sector check is most commonly required for teachers or for other people working with children and vulnerable adults. It includes information of non-convictions, where the person may be at risk of causing harm to a child or vulnerable person.

Key takeaways for employers
  1. Organizations should also update their background check policies and procedures to ensure that they are complying with the new restrictions on disclosure.
  2. Make sure you know which background check you need and what is relevant for your business
  3. Before making a request for a background check make sure you have the employee or prospective employee’s written consent beforehand.
  4. Only use background checks for the employment purposes and deciding if someone is suitable before you hire them. Make it clear you are going to use a background check as part of the recruitment process.
  5. Organizations using third-party background check companies should confirm that their service providers have also updated their procedures.

If you would like more clarification on carrying out a criminal record check then call our employer advice line on 1-833-247-3652 or schedule a callback.

The post Keeping up with Criminal Records Checks appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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New rules came into force across Ontario on November 1st, 2018 standardizing the types of police record checks that can be performed. It’s important for all employers to be aware that they can now only request a police record check on an employee or prospective employee only if they have that person’s written consent.

What do the rules state?

Under the new rules when an employer requests a background check, the information contained in the background will first be sent to the employee or prospective employee so that they can check the factual accuracy of the information before it is released. It’s also important to understand that the records checks may have a discriminatory effect, especially for people with mental health conditions.

Any background check should only be used for the purpose of vetting a suitable employee. Deliberate contravention of the Act is an offence and can result in a fine of up to $5,000 upon conviction.

Police Record Checks

Under the Police Record Checks Reform Act there are three types of record check:

  • Criminal record checks
  • Criminal record checks and judicial matters checks; and
  • Vulnerable sector checks.

The criminal record check is the most basic type of check that employers may request. It usually includes information about any criminal convictions that a person may have. Many employers require a criminal record and judicial matters check that provides information on criminal convictions and any outstanding charges or arrest warrant for a criminal conviction as well as any court orders. The vulnerable sector check is most commonly required for teachers or for other people working with children and vulnerable adults. It includes information of non-convictions, where the person may be at risk of causing harm to a child or vulnerable person.

Key takeaways for employers
  1. Organizations should also update their background check policies and procedures to ensure that they are complying with the new restrictions on disclosure.
  2. Make sure you know which background check you need and what is relevant for your business
  3. Before making a request for a background check make sure you have the employee or prospective employee’s written consent beforehand.
  4. Only use background checks for the employment purposes and deciding if someone is suitable before you hire them. Make it clear you are going to use a background check as part of the recruitment process.
  5. Organizations using third-party background check companies should confirm that their service providers have also updated their procedures.

If you would like more clarification on carrying out a criminal record check then call our employer advice line on 1-833-247-3652 or schedule a callback.

The post Keeping up with Criminal Records Checks appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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Imagine this. Your employee accidentally forwards a top-secret internal email to your customer. And its contents?

A plan to hike the prices of your products or services.

Now the evidence is whizzing its way to your customer’s mailbox. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

You go into damage control mode. You call and apologize. And hope your offer of a price freeze will be enough to satisfy your customer. They agree to delete your email and to keep your plans quiet. You had a lucky escape.

It’s an expensive mistake that you can’t let happen again.

Here’s how to stop your staff sending careless emails that could harm your business.

Jokes don’t work over email

It’s easy to take a joke the wrong way in person, and it’s even easier to offend someone via email.

So encourage your staff to be conversational without overstepping into casual. You want your customers to keep coming back, after all.

Spelling and grammar matter

It turns out your high school English teacher was right. You do need to know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. Well, you do if you want your customers to know you’re a team of professionals.

Teach staff to keep it simple and write emails in plain English. There’s no need to use ten words if five can get the point across quicker. Make sure staff use spellcheck and give their grammar the once-over, too.

Don’t respond too fast or too slowly

A calm response is better than a quick one. Even if your employee reads an email from a customer complaining about them. Remind staff that a quick-fire response could lead to a negative online review, or worse, you could lose a customer for good.

You shouldn’t leave a customer waiting for a reply, either. If staff need more time to reply, tell them to send the customer a holding email so they know when they’ll get an answer.

For more advice on managing work emails read our previous article on making calls and emails after work hours.

If you still have questions about managing your employees, our HR experts at Peninsula can offer helpful guidance and support. Contact us through our 24/7 employer advice line to get answers to your questions.

The post Could an Email Blunder kill your reputation? appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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No business owner wants to consider the possibility of their business going up in flames. If your business were to be burned to the ground, the financial burden would be staggering. The good news is that there are some steps you can take to lower the chances of a fire happening.

Fire safety laws in Ontario put the responsibility on business owners to identify hazards and control risks that could endanger lives or lead to a fire. You need to think about:

  •         Emergency Exits & Evacuation Routes
  •         Fire alarm systems & Emergency lighting
  •         Fire Extinguishers
  •         Emergency response plans and procedures
  •         Fire Drills
Protecting your customers

Do you work with members of the public? If you do, you need an escape plan for how you’re going to evacuate people with mobility problems in case there’s a fire. They might need help getting out safely, especially if you’re in a multi-storey building.

Fire drills

Every second counts in an emergency.

Fire drills need to be done once a year because your staff need to be comfortable with your fire safety policy. So when the fire alarm goes off, they know exactly what to do and where to go.

Don’t be the reason your business is a fire risk

Following a workplace inspection in 2018, one restaurant was found with blocked emergency exits, fire extinguishers that didn’t work, and faulty fire alarms. The owner would have endangered the lives of his customers and his staff if there had been a fire. The penalty?

A $12,250 fine.

You don’t want to face that, which is why you have to minimize the fire risks in your business.

We help you take control of fire safety in the workplace. Speak to our health & safety advice team by calling 1-833-247-3652, we are available to answer your questions.

The post Fire-Proofing Your Business appeared first on Peninsula Canada.

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