It is really a bummer whenever our work schedules change all of a sudden just because we need to cover for someone’s absence or we have to do more tasks than ever.
Rest days are supposed to be given to employees as rewards for their hard work for the five-day workweek, and changing their schedules just to reach business goals is not always a good thing.
In 2019, the Canadian Labour Code has implemented new amendments to the existing laws regarding schedule changes, which seems to be a good move on the part of employees.
So given the new amendments in the existing laws, a question arises: how much notice does an employer have to give for a schedule change in Ontario?
How Much Notice Should An Employer Give For A Schedule Change in Ontario?
Employers have to give a written notice 4 days before a schedule change.
According to the new amendments in the Canadian Labour Code, an employer should notify its employees about a schedule change through a written notice 96 hours (or four days) before the supposed schedule change.
For example, if your employer needs you to cover for someone who’s on a vacation leave, which usually means a schedule change, he or she has to give you a written notice 96 hours before your supposedly new schedule. It gives you more time to adjust everything you need to take care of, especially the appointments you’ll have to reschedule or cancel due to the sudden unavailability.
For shift changes, your employer must give you a written notice a day or 24 hours before the supposed shift change. This changes the usual work culture in which employers can just call their employees asking them to report to work on their rest days.
Importantly, in most cases, the Canada Labour Code will take precedence over any collective agreements. Some of the rules are similar to those imposed by the Ontario government, but one of the key differences between Ontario and federal unionized employees is the work shifts.
This makes it hard for employers to change their employees’ schedules according to the needs of the business. Of course, there are exceptions. but your boss should prove that they didn’t see the changes in foresight, due to health or safety reasons, and life-and-death experiences.
Employers must now think in terms of long-term schedules instead of ad hoc planning. This is a good thing for the employees because unless very much needed, they won’t have to cater to their bosses’ requests in schedule changes anymore if no written notices were given.
Other changes in the Labour Code for employees include the right of employees to refuse to do overtime for “family responsibilities”, and it also allows compensation for overtime by means of paid time off.
It also allows the employees to file a formal request for change in work conditions after spending six months of continuous service to their company. These include scheduling, shifts, or location of work (i.e. if working from home is an option).