What’s Changed Between Employers And Temporary Staffing Agencies?

The enactment of Bill 18 brought in the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 and introduced significant changes to several statutes related to employment in Ontario. While some changes that the Bill 18 introduced came into effect on enactment, others are being phased in over time.

Significant changes will be coming into effect related to the temporary help agency provisions of the employment standards act 2000 (ESA), on November 20, 2015. The scope of liability widens with these changes where an assignment employee is not paid his or her wages by a temporary help agency and it also imposes new record keeping obligations on clients of temporary help agencies with respect to the assignment employees.

The following changes are included:

Joint and Several Liability

When dealing with unpaid wages to assignment employees, temporary help agencies and their clients will be liable, jointly and severally. Although the responsibility for wage payments rests with the temporary help agency, assignment employees have the option of bringing a claim for unpaid wages against the client, in cases where the temporary help agency fails to meet its obligation to the employee.

When dealing with these new joint and several liability provisions of the ESA, “wages” are included as regular wages, overtime pay, public holiday pay, and premium pay, which is earned during the relevant pay period. In the case of multiple assignments in such a pay period, each client of the temporary help agency may be held jointly and severally liable with the temporary help agency for a share of the total wages owed to the employee. For the purposes of such a claim, the temporary help agency’s client will be deemed to be the employer of the assignment employee.

Record Keeping

It will be required of Temporary help agencies and their clients to record the number of hours worked by each assignment employee in each day and each week. It is required that these records are maintained for three years and are readily available for purposes of inspection. This requirement is applied even in cases where the temporary help agency has retained an external party to maintain or retain such records.

With such impending changes in account, employers utilizing the services provided by temporary help agencies and assignment employees are well advised to review their existing practices in order to ensure compliance with these new statutory requirements. If you want to get a better understanding of the act, you can get in touch with Prowse Chowne.