Several changes to Quebec's labour code went into effect yesterday, the first day of 2019. The changes include updated sexual harassment policies for all workers, more rights for those working shift work, and protections from unpaid overtime.
But the best news has to be that some people in Quebec just earned themselves a whole extra week of paid vacation.
TL;DR The new labour code in Quebec now stipulates that after working for a company for three years, you are entitled to three weeks of paid vacation. Updates were also made to sexual harassment and shift work policies.
That's right, if you've worked at a company for three years, you are now entitled to an extra week of paid vacation.
While it used to be that you had to work at a company for 5 years, the new labour code has changed the benchmark — and I think for the better.
The way young Canadian professionals move through their careers these days, it seems more reasonable to present this privilege after three years.
Other changes focus on sexual harassment in the workplace, an area that is now considered to be within the sphere of workplace psychological harassment.
Workplace psychological harassment is any "vexatious behaviour," be it one specific incident or ongoing hostile behaviour, that leaves the employee with lasting negative effects.
The updates follow a year that included the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, so it's no surprise that Quebec decided it was time to update the previous policies, which hadn't been updated since 2004.
Employees now have two years to file a formal complaint, extended significantly from the 90-day window that previously existed. This should minimize scrutiny of victims that require time and space to speak up about situations of harassment.
The new policies should mean a more streamlined process for employees to speak up about unwanted and unprofessional behaviour.
Other changes include rights for workers who are scheduled by shift. There are new "rights of refusal" for employees that are notified last minute of a schedule change.
Employees can now also refuse to work more than two hours of overtime "without fear of repercussions."
They can also refuse shifts for which they weren't given at least 5 days notice.
There are obviously exceptions for people who work in on-call environments, but if you work at a restaurant or café, your boss can't call at night and ask you to work the next day.
It seems all the changes were made in the right direction and I'm super pleased that they've taken the time to update such important legislation. Now they just need to make sure students who are doing internships get their proper protections, too...