News Briefs

B.C. asks civil servants to take time off without pay; Workers don’t use all vacation days; Ontario protects agency workers
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/02/2009

B.C. asks civil servants to take time off without pay

Victoria — The British Columbia government is asking employees to work a shorter week during the summer to help the province save money and jobs. About one-half of the provincial government’s 30,000 employees are eligible to take part in the voluntary program that would reduce the workweek by 20 per cent — one day for full-time employees — with a corresponding 20-per-cent pay cut. If 15,000 employees take part in the pilot project, the province could save $5 million, according to a government estimate.

Workers don’t use all vacation days

Toronto — Nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of working Canadians don’t use all their vacation days, according to an annual survey by travel website On average, workers leave 2.03 vacation days on the table, resulting in 34 million unused vacation days nationwide, according to the survey of 2,019 adults. Canadians are feeling more vacation deprived this year, at 42 per cent compared to 33 per cent in 2008. Albertans had the most unused vacation days at 2.81, followed by workers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (2.80), Atlantic Canadians (2.21), British Columbians (2.04), Ontarians (1.99) and Quebecers (1.39). The survey found 13 per cent of respondents say work is their life and they are too busy to get away. And one-third (30 per cent) say they feel guilty about taking time off work, with 17 per cent attributing their feelings of guilt to the current economy.

Ontario protects agency workers

Toronto — Ontario legislation giving temporary staffing agency employees more protections under the Employment Standards Act will come into force in November. The changes will protect workers by: ensuring they are not unfairly prevented from accessing permanent jobs when employers want to hire them from agencies; prohibiting agencies from charging fees to workers for things such as resumé writing and interview preparation; guaranteeing employees have the information they need about their assignments including pay schedules and job descriptions; and requiring agencies to provide employees with information about their new rights under the act. The government is also proposing a regulation to ensure “elect-to-work” employees have the right to notice of termination and severance pay.

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