Workplace Policy Changes 101
As a result of Bill 148, Ontario’s labour laws continue to change. It’s a good idea to review your workplace policies to make sure that you are up to date with the province’s new and upcoming employment standards.
Here’s a Recap of the Labour Law Changes that Affect Your Workplace Policies
On November 22, 2017, Bill 148 – otherwise known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 – was passed. The Act provided updates to the Employment Standards Act (ESA), the Labour Relations Act (LRA), and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). We continue to see these changes unfold.
To start, the Act:
- Raised the minimum wage;
- Expanded personal emergency leave; and
- Increased vacation leave and pay.
And soon to follow, the Act will:
- Mandate equal pay for equal work (Effective April 1, 2018); and
- Increase efforts to enforce laws (ongoing).
Have you communicated these workplace policy changes to your employees?
5 Ways to Communicate Workplace Policy Changes to Your Employees
Being upfront and straightforward about change is key. Here are five ways you can be effective in communicating a new or changed workplace policy to your employees.
1. Be transparent
- Hold a staff meeting to communicate policy updates
- Post new workplace policies in common areas – such as break rooms – where employees can easily see them
- Hand out hardcopies of new policies in the form of memos or updated employee handbooks
- Inform your employees of changes electronically via e-mail, intranet, or a password-protected section of your company website
2. Provide training, when necessary
- More complex policies or procedural changes may require more training so employees understand how changes applies to them
- Training may be scheduled on an on-going or as-needed basis
3. Get feedback
- Hold feedback sessions and incorporate employees’ opinions when possible
- Allow for anonymous or confidential feedback so all employees feel comfortable voicing their honest opinion
4. Two-way communication is key
- Ensure that your staff are not only voicing concerns, but that you’re also addressing them openly and honestly
5. Have employees sign off on a new or changed workplace policy
- Especially with labour law changes – and stricter enforcement promised from the Ministry of Labour – it is imperative that there is documentation showing that the workplace policy has been communicated
- Place a copy of the sign off in your employees’ personnel files
When communicating, updating, or adding new workplace policies, think about how to adjust your employees with ease, while doing what’s best for your business. If you have questions on workplace policy best practices, it’s always a good idea to ask an HR advisor for support.