Do Canadian employers have to start paying overtime for calls after hours?

Do Canadian employers have to start paying overtime for calls after hours?

If you are an employee who often receives after hours calls and emails from your boss, beginning June 2, 2022, you will no longer be obligated to answer after hours.

Since the start of the pandemic, remote working has made it more acceptable to work longer hours or be available at all hours of the day. Because online modes of communication are so accessible, it has become harder to close your laptop, and leave your workspace.

Ontario has decided to take initiative for the mental health of employees by legally ensuring a better work-life balance. Ontario has passed Bill 27, the Working for Workers Act, 2021, giving employees the right to disconnect.

What is the right to disconnect?

The right to disconnect is a new policy where the employer will no longer be allowed to contact employees after hours and must allow their employees to completely disconnect from work responsibilities. This provision will be applied to any workplace that has twenty-five or more employees.

According to Bill 27, “contacting” the employee will include emails, phone calls, zoom calls, text messages etc. Any online form of communication that is work related will no longer be acceptable.

What are the responsibilities of the employer?

Employers have from January 1 – June 2, 2022, to implement the right to disconnect at their workplace. Meaning, by June 2, 2022, all affected businesses will be required to follow this practice.

Bill 27 has not outlined what these policies must legally include, so it is likely they will look vastly different for every business. The employer will have to consider what “disconnecting” from their workplace will mean to their employees and how that affects their responsibilities. Employers will also have to consider how this will alter their current workflow and whether it disrupts any routine tasks that have been done in the past.

How will employees be affected?

As employers begin to redefine employee expectations, this provision may lead to altering Employment Contracts. It will be necessary for all affected employees to have their Employment Contract revised if any changes have been made.

If an employee’s hours drastically change, and they haven’t agreed to this change, they will be eligible to file a constructive dismissal claim.

If you want your Employment Contract revised or need help formulating the right to disconnect provision for your workplace, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.