Knowledge

4 Legal Regulations You Must Know Before Hiring Staff

For millions of Canadians, owning their own successful business is a dream come true. Having the freedom to do what you love while working under your own terms and getting paid to do it is the ultimate goal for enthusiastic entrepreneurs.

Having your own company offers numerous perks, but it also comes with a higher level of responsibility. Entrepreneurial individuals must keep accurate records of their income and expense for taxation purposes. They are also responsible for all aspects of their company operations which, for countless independent go-getters, is well worth the extra work and longer hours.

One of the biggest signs of a growing and successful business is the hiring of staff. Employees are needed when you can no longer manage your organization’s workload on your own. But hiring help involves more than just asking others to do certain tasks. Provincial and federal governments have regulations in place to protect people when working for others. Failing to understand or follow the mandated policies can cause many legal issues for your business.

Before looking for help, it is important to understand the legislation regarding employee/employer relationships so you maintain a professional and legitimate working relationship. Some of the employee’s rights you need to be aware of include:

1. Hours Worked and Overtime

Employees must be compensated for a minimum of three hours each time they are called into work. The maximum time per week is 40 hours. Anything over is considered overtime. Employers cannot force their staff to work longer hours without adequately compensating them for their time. Staff working over their maximum requirement are entitled to overtime pay.

2. Pay Rate

Employers must pay their staff for their time. Every province has a standard minimum wage rate set to ensure that hired help get paid a minimum dollar amount for every hour they perform duties for an organization. Each province also has rules in place on how employers can legally pay their assistants and how often. Taxes, EI, Canada Pension and other deductions must also be deducted from each pay period. Contacting a legal or accounting representative with payroll knowledge will help ensure you pay your staff properly and fairly.

3. Vacation

Employees are entitled to yearly vacation time. While provincial policies can vary, most legislate that full time employees are entitled to a minimum two weeks per year of paid vacation. Some company owners choose to pay their staff a vacation pay percentage each pay period while others give the time. How you choose to issue vacation monies is entirely up to you as long as it is within the legal jurisdictions.

4. Respectful Workplace

Everyone is entitled to work in a respectful environment free of any form of abuse, sexism, racism, and intimidation. In the diverse world we live in today, it is important to make sure everyone is treated equally, fairly, and respectfully. Understanding the respectful workplace guidelines and rules is vital to running a successful company. Seeking guidance from your legal advisor before and during the course of hiring others to ensure all parties understand and adhere to respectful workplace policies will protect yourself and your employees from disrespectful and discriminatory behaviours.

Owning your own company is an exciting adventure and, for millions of Canadians, a dream come true. While many entrepreneurial ventures start off as one-person operations, employing the help of others will eventually become necessary as the organization grows. Before employing others into your service, it is important to meet with a legal advisor first to find out what your obligations are towards your employees so you and your staff will be protected and respected.

Ronald Ryan

I'm a self-proclaimed science geek and all-around nerd. Useless fun trivia seems to be my forte. If you ever need to hear a good dad joke, I'm your guy!

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