Getting Started For Employers

In most cases, the Employment Standards Act (and the regulations) set out the minimum rights and standards of employees in British Columbia. With a written employment contract, we can help protect your business by ensuring that employees don’t become entitled to substantially more entitlements.  The basic rights of all employees include:

  • that wages must be no less than minimum wage (even if paid by flat salary and not hourly)
  • a minimum frequency of paydays (generally, at least semimonthly)
  • meal breaks – part 4 of the legislation deals with meal breaks, minimum hours per shift, overtime, time off between shifts, and other employee rights
  • statutory holidays and holiday pay
  • vacation time and vacation pay (at least 4% of all wages, starting after 5 days of employment)
  • various leaves, like parental leave and COVID-19 leave
  • notice of termination and severance entitlements

In addition to paying your employee at least minimum wage, you must also contribute to CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) and (in most cases) employment insurance (EI) by way of payroll deductions and remittances. So, you’ll need a CRA payroll account.

You also likely need statutory insurance from WorkSafeBC for the employees (and your business).

The specific dollar values of the costs discussed above depend on the types of employees and their wages. A general guide is that the additional costs to a business for an employee are about 20% of that employee’s wages.

You should also be aware of the Human Rights Code. There are a few sections that specially deal with discrimination in job advertising, wages, and during the course of employment (sections 11, 12, and 13).

The Personal Information Protection Act governs the collection (s. 13), use (s.16), and disclosure (s.19) of an employee’s “personal information”.

If you are considering offering employees equity in your company,  there are tax considerations for your employees.  Before you offer equity, we recommend you discuss the tax consequences with your accountant or tax advisor.

Then, there’s the practical side.  The human resources component of your business can add up to a lot of additional work, and can be quite technical. Consider whether you want to set up employment policies, which might cover topics such as discrimination, bullying and harassment, BYOD (bring your own device), IT use and restrictions, media rights (for example, posting employee events on social media, and drug and alcohol). We would be happy to help put these together.

 Here’s a great article written by Mike Gibbons, a trusted HR writer. We’re pleased to have contributed.