For members with stores in Manitoba: Manitoba Employment Standards Bill Improves Averaging Hours Process, Enhances Leaves, Raises Age for Young Workers - Retail Council of Canada

For members with stores in Manitoba: Manitoba Employment Standards Bill Improves Averaging Hours Process, Enhances Leaves, Raises Age for Young Workers

On March 20, 2018 Manitoba Growth Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen introduced Bill 20, the “Employment Standards Code Amendment Act, that would provide greater flexibility for retailers that use Averaging Work permits, an improvement RCC has been working to achieve.

The Bill would also extend parental leave provisions and leave for individuals to care for a critically ill adult family member, update how frivolous or vexatious complaints are managed by the director of Employment Standards, as well as raise the minimum age for employment to 13.

Current Status:

The Manitoba Government is proposing the following legislative changes to the Employment Standards Code, including:

Averaging Hours Work Permit:

  • The Bill introduces a new process to allow an employer and an employee or group of employees not covered by a collective agreement to enter into an agreement determining an employee’s standard hours of work for a specified time without requiring overtime.
  • The employee’s work agreement may not exceed 12 hours per day or 60 hours per week and must average back to the equivalent of 40 hours or less hours over a 12-week period. To qualify for a permit, the employer must obtain the signed support of 75% of the affected employees, however no longer requires approval of the director of Employment Standards.
  • Averaging agreements are particularly advantageous for retailers with small workforces that wish to ensure they have their most experienced full-time staff working during key sales periods (e.g.: December holiday season).

Leaves of Absence:

  • Parental leave would be extended from 37 weeks to 63 weeks, and a new 17-week leave would be established to permit employees to care for an adult family member who is critically ill. These amendments are a response to the recent changes to employment insurance benefits available under federal legislation.

Complaints to the Director:

  • The bill also authorizes he director of Employment Standards to refuse frivolous or vexatious complaints that were time taxing for the Government and Employer.
  • Additionally, the Bill would clarify unionized employees would no longer have the ability to file a complaint with the director of employment standards since collective agreements include grievance processes for handling disputes between employers and employees about wages or other terms of employment.

Employment of Young People:

  • The minimum age for employment in Manitoba would be raised from 12 to 13, to bring it in line with the United Nations’ International Labour Organization Minimum Age Convention 138, which came into force in Canada in June 2017 with unanimous support from all provinces and territories.
  • The requirement for employers to obtain a permit before employing someone under the age of 16 would be eliminated, instead requiring employers to ensure a young person between the ages of 13 and 16 has a certificate verifying they have completed an approved work readiness course online.

The coming into force date for changes to protected leaves is set at royal assent, while the remaining proposed changes would take effect upon proclamation.

Next Steps:

  • RCC was actively involved in the review of the Employment Standards Code Amendment Act and will continue to communicate with government regarding any concerns or points of clarification members may have.
  • RCC will also ensure members are updated as the Bill advances through the legislative process.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairie Region) at 204-926-8624 or