August 21, 2018

Quebec’s Bill 176: Changes to labour standards for Quebec employees

Quebec’s Bill 176 makes changes to a number of the province’s labour standards, including amendments to vacation, leaves, and scheduling. Here, Senior Compliance Counsel Lyndee Patterson provides an overview of the changes.

Lyndee Patterson

Residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lyndee Patterson is a lawyer on staff at Ceridian responsible for legislative compliance and for monitoring the provincial and federal legislative landscapes from an HCM perspective. She also represents Ceridian on the Federal Government Relations Advisory Council.

In June 2018, Quebec passed “Bill 176: An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balance.” The bill modifies a number of Quebec’s labour standards requirements and entitlements. 

Some of the Bill 176 changes have been in effect since the bill passed:

 

Before June 12, 2018

After June 12, 2018

Holiday pay eligibility

Holiday needs to fall on a normal day of work to give rise to indemnity entitlement.

Whether or not the holiday falls on a normal day of work doesn’t impact indemnity entitlement.

Staggering agreements (impacting overtime)

Employers need approval from CNESST to stagger work hours.

Employer and employees can agree to stagger work hours (under conditions).

Amendments impacting vacation, hours of work, leaves and scheduling will not be modified until Jan. 1, 2019:

 

Before Jan. 1, 2019

After Jan. 1, 2019

Vacation

Two weeks after one year. Three weeks after five years.

Two weeks after one year. Three weeks after three years.

Refusal of hours

Permits refusal of hours greater than four hours over regular daily working hours per 24-hour period.

Permits refusal of hours greater than two hours over regular daily working hours per 24-hour period.

 

 

After Jan. 1, 2019

Leaves

The first two days of absence under family, bereavement, paternity, sickness, organ/tissue donation, accident, or domestic violence are to be paid using the calculation for the holiday indemnity.

Twenty-six weeks of unpaid leave for victims of domestic/sexual violence added to list of existing leaves.

Scheduling

Permits refusal of work if less than five days’ notice of scheduled work.

Some other key changes include:

  • Expanding the definition of “relative” as it is used in the context of family leaves and absences.
  • Requiring employers to adopt a psychological harassment prevention and complaint policy, including a section on verbal comments, actions or gestures of a sexual nature.

What employers need to be aware of

The above changes are not to be confused with those being proposed in another Quebec bill, “Bill 174: An Act mainly to relax the parental insurance plan in order to promote better family-work balance.” Bill 174 has not yet passed, but it would extend the QPIP benefits parents are entitled to and, consistent with the provincial trend to extend parental job-protected leaves, would extend its parental leave period.

Already quite generous at 52 weeks (historically, parental leaves in Canada have been 35 to37 weeks), if Bill 174 passes, Quebec employees will have an even longer parental leave option.  At 104 weeks, the protected time away from work would surpass the extended leave options recently approved for federally regulated employers and employees in Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Manitoba.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should review with your legal advisors how the laws identified in this post may apply to your specific situation.

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