Many 1000's of working poor probably don't know their rights as workers, as well as depending on a full time, min wage job, to pay rent, they might know their rights but won't say anything because of the fear of losing their job.
Many companies and including chain corporations that employ 1000's of employees take advantage of their employees lack of understanding their rights as employees and work them for over 7 hours with out a break or a small 15 min break.
I have asked people about when you get a break, and many think you have to work a full 8 hour day to get a 30 min unpaid break. These people work in companies that employ 1000's of working poor and they all accept this as a truth.
An employee must not work more than five ( 5 ) hours in a row without a 30-minute meal break
- If you work 7 days a week you get pain time and a half for the day that had the shortest hours, ( 7hr+7hr+7hr+7hr+7hr+7hr+6hr ) 6hour day is time and a half .
- If you work over 8 hours, every hour over 8 hours is time and a half.
- If you work over 12 hours, it's double time . Example is a 13 hour day = 8 hours regular pay, 4 hours time and a half, and double time for the 1 hour.
Hours of Work and Overtime Fact sheet
Uniforms and Special Clothing, Employers are supposed to cover the cost of keeping your uniform clean, but often expect the employee to cover it.
- If an employer requires an employee to wear a uniform or special clothing, the employer must provide, clean and maintain it at no cost to the employee.
- Special clothing is any garment that creates an image specific to the employer and identifies employees to customers. Special clothing includes a requirement to wear the garments that the business is currently selling. A dress code (no jeans, no cut-offs, dark clothing, business casual) is not a uniform.
- Employers and employees may make an agreement for the employer to reimburse employees for cleaning and maintaining special clothing.
- Personal safety equipment required by Work Safe BC regulations is not considered special clothing, unless the equipment also associates the wearer with the image or identity of the employer.
The working poor should be better supported with employment laws, and educations for the rights of employees as well as holding up employers that don't follow these laws for employees. There should be over sight to protect employees built into the way an employer pays an employee.
- If an Employer requires an employee to where a uniform then the allowance for keeping his or hers uniform clean should show within the pay statement like taxes and other deductions.
- The daily hours should show in the pay statement including the break taken with the sign off sign on 30 min break, if the shift was over 5 hours.
- In the daily hours the over time should be added in the pay statement if over time was worked .
This should be made mandatory that the employer submits extra details per pay day within the pay statement. This in effect would be an over site requirement to better support the working poor making sure that the working poor are not being taken advantage of and keeping Corporations and Companies on the straight and narrow with their workers.
That being said the Working Poor should have better more supportive Labor Laws that enhance the well being of any hourly working person.
- A laborer should get a 30 min break every 4 hours as this is the middle of most 7-8 hour shift and a perfect time to recharge. ( As a laborer, I start to burn out quickly after 4 hours constant work )
- A laborer should get a quick break every 2 hours. The 30 min break after 4 hours would not be a paid break , but the quick break 10-15 mins would be paid .
This type of breaking time would help a person get through a 12 - 16 hour shift more effectively, ( in a 12 hour shift there would be 2, 30 min breaks, and 3, 10-15 min break. )
The bonus to the employers is a more productive work force because they are regenerated more frequently, and therefore would be more productive .
- The 10-15 min quick breaks would not be mandatory. But if given the quick break time 10-15 min should be made tax deductible for the business.
- If breaks are to be given these breaks should be reported in the pay stubs. ( 8 hour day, quick break at 2 hours, 30 min break at 4 hours, 2 hours another break, ).
Currently the pay stub does not show the daily detail but hours worked in a 2 week pay period, over time, deductions etc.
Other tax break incentives for employers to offer their employees could be,
- Medical, dental, eye and hearing care, physiotherapy, and any health related care.
- Education and Training.
- Work Clothing.
- Extra activities beyond work that could include a massive range of things from fitness centers, to out door activities, vacations and trips.
A labor law and tax break reward system could be implemented to enhance the well being of any hourly working person, with the reward to the business 10 fold as they have a more productive staff, and get tax breaks for money spent for the well being of their employees. The tax breaks given for businesses for the well being of employees could have 2 other effects ,
1. By offering the tax breaks to employers for the well being of employees it could encourage businesses to flock to BC to get those tax breaks while increasing the well being of the workforce.
2. It would be a model for the rest of the Provinces to follow to keep businesses in their Provinces, showing that BC is more then open for business it's leading the way for Businesses , employees and Government to work as a team to build the province.
The current labor laws are in need a massive overhaul that would benefit employers and employees .
Wage Theft and Workplace Abuse: Report Shows Need for Employment Standards Overhaul
Article in The Tyee on new BC Employment Standards Coalition Summary Report
BC Employment Standards Act Needs to Change Summary report [PDF]