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  • HR Heartbeat: Tick tock springs the pay clock, last call for free Naloxone and...

HR Heartbeat: Tick tock springs the pay clock, last call for free Naloxone and...

Get into this week’s HR Heartbeat and discover why having fixed-term contracts may lead to significant liabilities. Plus, will you have to pay employees for an extra hour when the clocks spring forward next week?

First published on Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024

Last updated on Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024

5 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business. Plus, get up-to-the-minute commentary on all things HR and legal. So, let's check out this week's headlines...

Tick tock springs the pay clock

You know the drill, it's that time of the year again when the clocks spring forward.

Daylight savings time begins on March 10, 2024, at 2 AM, when clocks will go forward one hour.

So, let’s answer the question on every employer’s mind this time of year—d*o you have to pay staff for the extra hour they work? *

If you have employees working overnight or early that Sunday, here's what you need to know:

If your staff are hourly workers, you need a well-drafted employment contract. Clear contracts detail whether workers get compensated only for hours worked, including overtime.

If your staff are salaried workers, they'll get their regular wages. There'll be no reason to pay them for the extra hour of work. Instead, they'll get extra compensation when daylight saving time ends in November.

Need help drafting detailed employment contracts? Check out BrightBase, our library of expert-written templates, checklists, and policies. It contains comprehensive employment agreements covering all the bases, so you're always protected.

Courtroom chronicles: When firing goes wrong

Employers can learn a lot from a recent decision by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

The Court discussed the wrongful termination of an employee on a fixed-term contract. In this case, the employer terminated a worker with cause, six weeks into their employment.

The employee had engaged in misconduct, which led the employer to believe they had reasonable grounds to fire the employee with cause. The employer also claimed that if the Court found they did not have a right to terminate for cause, then they were entitled to terminate without cause before the employee's fixed-term contract ended.

But, the Court ruled that though the employee engaged in misconduct:

  • the employer's immediate termination of the employee was extreme. It would've been more effective to follow a written progressive disciplinary approach.
  • the employer wasn't entitled to terminate the employee without cause, because their fixed-term contract didn't say anything about early termination without cause.
  • the employee was wrongfully terminated and awarded damages for the entire term of their employment contract.

The damages awarded was fifteen months wages minus six weeks of employment. This amounts to a payout of over $80,000, a steep price for failing to conduct terminations the right way.

Employers bear the heavy burden of proving just cause. That's why you need advice from trained and experienced employment relations professionals. They'll provide guidance on best practices for terminating an employee on such grounds.

Last call for free Naloxone

Ontario's Free Naloxone Kit and Training Program ends on March 31, 2024.

Employers will now bear the costs of complying with Occupational Health and Safety Act requirements on Naloxone.

The program may be ending, but employers must still provide Naloxone kits. This is especially important in workplaces where there is a *reasonable risk of opioid overdose. *

The only thing changing is that you must now bear the responsibility of:

  • Appointing a worker to be responsible for the kit and administering the drug.
  • Training the worker on how to administer Naloxone & manage any complications that arise.

Learn more about how to access a free Naloxone kit and book a free training session before the deadline, here.

That's it for today! Come back next week for more HR news so you stay ahead of major employment law changes.

Have more questions on similar topics and more? BrightLightning has thousands of answers to all your HR and health & safety dilemmas.

How can I prevent daylight savings time from affecting my business?

Having a clause in your worker’s employment contract stating that their hours of work will be subject to change due to the needs of the business may reduce the effects of daylight savings time on your business. This clause should cover any fluctuation in hours resulting from the time change, but you may choose to provide additional payment for time worked depending on how your employees are paid (i.e. salaried, hourly, etc.). Employers should be mindful that business policies should be consistent and apply to all employees.

Can I end a fixed-term contract before the end date?

Yes, if there is a clause in the contract which lets you do this. You will still need to have reasonable grounds for doing so and follow a fair process to dismiss.

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioids are drugs that are prescribed by a medical practitioner as therapy for pain. Opioids can also be used recreationally (e.g., Morphine, Heroin, Fentanyl, Codeine, among others). Employers should note that Naloxone can only reverse overdoses from opioids. Naloxone can be administered through a nasal spray or an intramuscular injection.

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