News Briefs

Daycare workers can unionize: Court; Market woes delay retirement plans; EI surplus solution for pension crisis; Job listings on the go; UPS settles discrimination case
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/02/2008

Daycare workers can unionize: Court

Quebec — At-home daycare workers can now unionize, thanks to a ruling by the Quebec Superior Court. In 2003, the Quebec government passed a law prohibiting at-home workers from unionizing. The Centrale des syndicates du Québec (CSQ) and several other unions challenged the law, stating it was unconstitutional and the court agreed. There are 15,000 at-home daycare workers, with most working more than 60 hours per week and earning an annual salary of $14,000, according to CSQ.

Market woes delay retirement plans

Ottawa — The economic crisis has made 46 per cent of Canadians consider a delay in retirement, according to a survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. More than one-third (38 per cent) of about 1,000 plan sponsors and trustees surveyed said employees are concerned about not having enough money for retirement. Thirty-six per cent said defined contribution plan participants have cut their retirement plan contributions and 34 per cent said they’ve taken on safer investments.

EI surplus solution for pension crisis

Toronto — The federal government should use some of the $52-billion employment insurance surplus to safeguard workers’ pensions against the economic crisis, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers. In the first quarter of 2008, even before the onset of the current stock market crash, the asset base of workers’ pension plans eroded by more than $100 billion, said union president Wayne Hanley. “EI premiums were paid to provide income security, and pensions are income. The billions Canadian workers overpaid in EI premiums should be part of a plan to make sure these pension funds survive until the stock markets recover.”

Job listings on the go

Toronto — The online job site Workopolis has launched a stripped-down mobile website, http://mobile.workopolis.com, that people can access through the web browser on their mobile devices, including cellphones. Users can then e-mail job ads to themselves, or friends, and apply when they have access to a computer. The postings will automatically appear on the mobile version, giving employers access to hard-to-find candidates, said Patrick Sullivan, president of Workopolis.

UPS settles discrimination case

Toronto — The United Parcel Service (UPS) and a group of Muslim women have settled a human rights complaint over a dress-code dispute. The women, all devout Muslims, had worked for the company for two years through a temporary agency. After being hired on as permanent employees, they were fired because they refused to shorten their skirts. UPS said the ankle-length skirts were a safety hazard as workers climb tall ladders. The women argued Islam requires them to be fully covered for modesty and alleged discrimination on the basis of religion and gender. Details of the settlement were not available at press time.