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Employment Standards and Small Business

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Maryanne Laroque, CHRP Principal, NewRoads Consulting April.29.2016

Governments have many laws and regulations concerning the treatment of employees. These laws govern everything from Human Rights, Employment Equity, and Health & Safety. Employment Standards are also governed by these specific laws and regulations.  At the outset, small business owners must establish clearly defined employment policies related to ’employment standards.’ Under these standards, guidelines offered are the minimum requirements of employment under current legislation. Federal, provincial, and territorial laws are in place to provide minimum standards for employees.

Some of the areas covered typically include:
• Minimum wage
• Overtime
• Hours of work and work scheduling
• General holidays
• Annual vacations
• Benefits for part-time workers
• Parental leave
• Layoff procedures
• Terminations and severance pay

Small business owners must exercise due diligence. For example, it is more than likely a small business may not have the necessary resources they need to fully recover from the impact of a poor hiring decision or from executing the wrongful dismissal of an employee. Therefore, it is essential that small business owners arm themselves with knowledge and keep watch over a rapidly changing legal landscape. This will help protect them from potential financial loss, while at the same time, allow them to build a solid reputation as a fair and equitable employer within the community.

Best Practises for Small Business:
• Have formalized employment policies and related legislation in place, and make sure all employees read and understand these policies
• Be proactive and keep up to date with current employment legislation
• Seek legal counsel (employment lawyer), especially when dealing with more complex issues or difficult employment-related situations. Legal counsel is a worthwhile investment.

The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse with regard to race, gender, and disabilities. Businesses of all types and sizes must strike a balance between growing a successful business while ensuring fair and reasonable treatment of employees.

For additional information on Employment Standards, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards

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