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New Ont. labour rules require approval for 48 hour-plus work week
TORONTO, -- The Ontario Trucking Association is reminding the province's carriers that new rules requiring employers to seek permission for work weeks in excess of 48 hours take effect soon. The new law -- a provision of the Ontario Employment Standards Act that takes effect March 1, 2005 -- requires employers to get permission from the employee and approval from the Ministry of Labour when scheduling the employee to work more than 48 hours. The law applies to provincially-regulated carriers in Ontario, not to federally-regulated carriers or owner-operators. Despite concerns from the OTA that some carriers require drivers for more than 48 hours a week, the Ministry did not grant an exception to the trucking industry, OTA says. According to the Ministry of Labour, an employer must satisfy nine conditions in order to have employees work more than 48 hours a week. Some include: -- A written agreement between the employee and employer to work excess hours (see the Ministry's Employer's Guide to the Application Process, Excess Weekly Hours of Work/Averaging Hours for more information). -- The employer must serve the application for an Approval for Excess Weekly Hours on the Director of Employment Standards in accordance with the ESA. -- Thirty calendar days have passed since the employer served the ESA Director with the application for excess weekly hours. -- The employer's most recent previous application, if any, was not refused or revoked. -- The employer has posted and kept posted in the workplace a copy of the application for an Approval for Excess Weekly Hours, and it's located where it is clearly visible to the employees that the application applies to. -- The employee does not work more than the number of hours the employee agreed to in writing, or more than 60 hours. The OTA says that currently, the ESA provides a limited exception to this requirement when an application for approval is pending and the Director has not yet made a decision. However, the most an employee can work pending approval is 60 hours, even it the employer has applied for approval for more than 60 hours and the employee has agreed in writing. Carriers should consult the Employer's Guide for more information. It's available at any Ministry of Labour office and on its website.
 
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