Regular Employees

PURPOSE OF THE HR TOOLKIT

The HR Toolkit is for board members, managers and supervisors who are responsible for recruiting, onboarding, training and managing staff. This HR Toolkit was created to support Medical Staff Associations (MSAs) and Physician Societies to utilize best practice and equitable approaches to people management, while also highlighting the employer’s obligations.

The practices suggested in this HR Toolkit will assist individuals in:

HR TOOLKIT FORMAT & RESOURCES

EQUITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (EDI)

Throughout this HR Toolkit, you will find BLUE boxes indicating ‘Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Best Practices.’ EDI refers to the fair and respectful treatment of all people, particularly those that have been historically marginalized [equity]; the promotion of differences among people’s life experiences and perspectives, which may involve their race, ethnicity, skin colour, religion, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more [diversity]; and the creation and continuous practice of a respectful and diverse culture that welcomes and supports all [inclusion]. EDI best practices are essential for the success of any organization and are ideally incorporated throughout an employee’s life cycle – from recruitment to offboarding. The ‘EDI Best Practices’ boxes highlight top tips and recommendations for incorporating this perspective.

FORMS & TEMPLATES

Additionally, within PURPLE boxes, you will find the resources, tools and templates relevant for each section of the HR Toolkit.

STAFF CATEGORIES

There are many types of staff that work within MSAs and Physician Societies. The table below highlights some of the key features that defines each category of staff.

Regular, Salaried Employees

Regular, Hourly Employees

Independent Contractors

EMPLOYEE VS. CONTRACTOR: AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION

The distinction between employees (salaried and hourly) and contractors is important.The decision whether to hire a staff member as an employee or a contractor has many different implications. Making sure you make the right call and ensuring that your internal practices are aligned with your decision is critical.

There are resources and tools to support employers in determining whether a staff member should be an employee or a contractor.

Once an assessment has been completed, it is important that all on-going practices are aligned with the original determination. If the needs of the organization change and, for example, a contractor is being asked to work more like an employee, the contractual relationship will need to be reviewed and a new assessment and determination completed.

Resources:

HEALTH AUTHORITY EMPLOYEES OR OTHER JOINT HIRES WITH EXTERNAL PARTNERS

There are occasions when a MSA or Physician Society has a staff member who is hired though a health authority or another external partner. On these occasions, these employees are subject to the terms and conditions of their employment contract with their employer (i.e., health authority or external partner). While these partnerships can be beneficial, they can cause confusion when staff who work side-by-side but are appointed through different organizations have differences in:

It is important in these situations that all parties understand how this employment relationship will work and what are the differences in policy and practice between a MSA appointed and hired employee, and a MSA staff member hired through a health authority or external partner.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

ROLE OF THE ENGAGEMENT PARTNER

Should you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the topics covered in this HR Toolkit, please consult your Engagement Partner. The role of the Engagement Partner is as a strategic advisor in identifying appropriate staffing needs to achieve your organizational priorities in alignment with your Document of Intent (DOI) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as applicable.

EXTERNAL HR SUPPORT

When your human resources questions are more complex, it may be important to consult an external HR expert. HR consultants or employment lawyers can be hired on an hourly or project basis to meet your needs. Your Engagement Partner may have recommendations of companies who can support your needs.

CONCLUSION

This HR Toolkit is a living document and will be updated to reflect current legislation and best practice.

Recruitment & Hiring

The success of any organization is closely tied to the quality of its employees. An employer’s recruitment methods affect the individuals it hires, their performance and the retention and engagement rates of employees. Investing in a strong recruitment process will ensure you hire the right person for the position and your organization.

The following section outlines the key steps and considerations in the recruitment and hiring process. It highlights processes that consider an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lens, as well as other best practices in finding and attracting quality candidates.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

PREPARE FOR RECRUITMENT

HIRING LEAD

Must:

  • Identify one (1) person as the Hiring Lead who will be responsible for leading the recruitment process. They will be joined by one or two more people when in-person interviews are being conducted.

Best Practice:

  • Select a Hiring Lead depending on the position to be filled. It may be a senior staff person, project lead, Executive Director, Board Chair, etc.

JOB DESCRIPTION

Must:

  • Build a job description that accurately states details about the position.
  • Use the Sample Job Description template to articulate the role and responsibilities, as well as essential and desirable criteria (skills, aptitudes, knowledge, and experience).

EDI Best Practices:

  • Use gender neutral pronouns. Avoid binary personal pronouns and instead use ‘they’ or ‘the candidate’.
  • Be aware of ‘feminine’ versus ‘masculine’ words.
  • Avoid extreme modifiers such as, ‘world class’ or ‘unparalleled’. These can discourage qualified candidates who may not self-identify with the terms or language used.
  • Focus on the necessary requirements rather than the ‘nice to haves’ to give latitude to candidates with transferable skills.
  • Communicate your commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Doing so will help signal to potential candidates that their personal identity and experience will be welcomed and supported.

Consider:

  • Surveying existing employees, supervisors, and subject matter experts to determine critical knowledge, skills, and attributes that lead to successful performance in the role and organization.
  • Looking at other like job postings on the JCC Resource Catalogue, Charity Village or other job sites to identify language and/or qualities that are applicable to the job description you are creating.

Resources:

HIRING TIMELINE

Must:

  • Determine the hiring timeline using the steps outlined in this chapter. First, select an ideal start date. From that date, work backwards to determine a realistic timeline that provides adequate time for each step of the process to occur.

Best Practice:

  • Allow two (2) weeks per step to keep hiring timeline on track.

Consider:

  • Reviewing how long previous hiring searches [for the role being filled] have gone on for to support accurate development of your timeline.

POSTING THE JOB

Must:

Best Practice:

  • Within the Sample Job Posting, add details specific to your role and location to capture the attention of multiple candidates.

Consider:

  • Consulting your Engagement Partner for additional suggestions and support where required.
  • Reviewing where jobs have previously been posted [for the role being filled] to determine alternate avenues for reaching candidates.

Resources:

REVIEW APPLICATIONS

Must:

  • Review all applications. Eliminate applicants who do not meet the basic criteria or qualifications.  
  • Use the job description to shortlist appropriate applicants to approximately 5 or 6 applicants for telephone interviews.

Best Practice:

  • Upon initial review of cover letters and resumes, separate applicants into an A, B or C pool. If you have a strong A pool, carry only these applicants to the next step.

Consider:

  • Sending a courtesy email to all candidates indicating you have received their application and will contact them only if they are selected for an interview.

INTERVIEW PROCESS

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Must:

  • Build a consistent list of questions to be used for all interviews, including telephone and in-person interviews.
  • Use the Interview Guide to get started. Analyze the job description to build out additional role-specific questions.

Best Practice:

  • Consistently apply the same interview questions and structure to all candidates.

Consider:

  • Consulting your Engagement Partner for additional suggestions and support where required.
  • Reviewing questions previously used for hiring [for the role being filled] and revise as required.

Resources:

TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS

Must:

  • Use short telephone interviews to quickly screen out applicants who are inappropriate for the position.
  • Use the Telephone Interview Guide to get started.
  • Determine 3 or 4 candidates who will move forward to in-person interviews.
  • Make a courtesy call or send an email to unsuccessful candidates who participated in a telephone interview.

Best Practice:

  • Use the same set of questions for every candidate and try not to deviate. This commonality fosters consistency and accelerates your ability to discern differences between candidates.
  • When all telephone interviews are complete, decide which candidates to invite to an in-person interview. Make decisions based on each candidate’s resume and telephone screen.
  • Be very judicious when assessing the quality and relevance of answers to your questions. If you get a red flag, rule them out.

Consider:

  • Ensuring the candidates’ career goals align with those of the position. If they do not, question their suitability.
  • Consulting your Engagement Partner for additional suggestions and support where required (e.g., when hiring a senior position).

Resources:

IN-PERSON INTERVIEWS

Must:

  • Determine who will conduct the in-person interviews. Provide the list of interview questions to interviewer(s).
  • Conduct the first round of in-person interviews.
  • Conduct the second round of in-person interviews, as required.
  • Notify unsuccessful candidates. 
  • Make a courtesy call or send an email to all candidates who participated in an in-person interview.

Best Practice:

  • Use the Interview Guide to get started.
  • Ask a variety of questions to determine whether they have the skill and experience to do the job
  • Perform in-person interviews with a minimum of two (2) people from the organization present.
  • Make notes during the interview for reference when assessing and making final decisions.

Consider:

  • Ensuring at least one of the people supporting in-person interviews is someone who the candidate will be working with. This will support evaluation of professional and organizational fit.

NEW HIRE

REFERENCE CHECKS

Must:

  • Request at least three (3) references for the top 1 or 2 candidates.
  • Complete reference checks before even an indication of an offer is made (including verbal offers).
  • Use the Reference Check Form to ensure consistency. Adapt the questions as required.
  • Complete a criminal records clearance, as required for the position.

Best Practice:

  • Reach out to the references provided via email and set a time to connect. This helps avoid multiple unanswered phone calls.

Consider:

  • Reviewing the candidates’ social media presence.

Resources:

MAKE AN OFFER

Must:

  • Obtain any necessary approval for the hire.
  • Determine a proposed start date, salary or hourly wage.
  • Call and make a verbal offer to the preferred candidate.
  • If a criminal records clearance is required for the role, inform the preferred candidate that the offer is pending a successful criminal records clearance.
  • Be prepared to receive a counter-offer. In some cases, your preferred candidate may want to negotiate their start date, salary and/or other entitlements such as paid vacation, etc.
  • Follow up the phone call with a Sample Employee Agreement, signed by an authorized signatory, via email.

PREPARE AN EMPLOYEE AGREEMENT

Must:

  • Draft an employee agreement outlining the start date, salary, benefits, etc. Use the Sample Employee Agreement to get started.
  • If your MSA is under Facility Engagement Service Company (FESC) , consult your Engagement Partner before preparing the employee agreement.

Best Practice:

  • An employee agreement must set out the rights, responsibilities and obligations of the organization and the employee during the period of employment. The employee agreement will include:
    • Position information: job title; department; who they will report to; etc.
    • Term of Employment: on-going or fixed term
    • Hours of Work: hours of work and description of any flexible working options, such as working remotely; working evenings and/or weekends; etc.
    • Compensation and Benefits: salary/hourly rate; benefits plan eligibility, if applicable; any other additional benefits
    • Paid Time Off: include information about vacation and sick time entitlements
    • Confidentiality Agreement: reference to employee’s legal obligation to abide by the Confidentiality Agreement
    • Termination Terms and Conditions: amount of written notice required; employer’s right to terminate for cause; etc.
  • Include the job description as an appendix to the employee agreement.
  • Give the employee a deadline to review and sign the offer (generally 3 to 5 business days). 

Consider:

Resources:

CRIMINAL RECORDS CLEARANCE

Must:

  • If your organization requires a criminal records clearance as a condition of employment, a policy must exist to articulate the organization’s position and requirements.

Best Practice:

  • Criminal records clearance is required if an employee will work directly with vulnerable populations. They are also important if the employee will have financial responsibilities within the organization.

EDI Best Practices:

  • To support diversity and inclusion, some policies include statements that describe the organization’s acknowledgement that there can be stigma surrounding people’s criminal history. To avoid perpetuating shame, the organization may not consider crimes around drug offences, sex work, property offences, or poverty-related offences as relevant in determining a candidate’s suitability for a role.

Consider:

  • The policy must describe relevance of a past criminal record to a candidate’s eligibility for employment, or an employee’s eligibility for continued employment. The policy could also articulate that a criminal records clearance will be reviewed based upon the following factors:
    • The nature and gravity of the offense(s) for which the candidate or employee was convicted/charged (e.g., convictions for hate crimes or other power-based crimes)
    • The time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence and/or any other evidence of rehabilitation since the criminal conviction
    • The nature and responsibilities of the job held or sought and its relation to the prior criminal activity
  • Criminal records clearances are required if an employee is to work directly with vulnerable populations. They can be important if the employee will have financial responsibilities within the organization.

Appointment & Onboarding

Once you have received a signed employee agreement from your new hire, it is time to start preparing for the appointment and onboarding process. Appointment refers to collecting all of the critical information to set them up as an employee within your organization. Onboarding is the process of equipping new employees with the knowledge and skills necessary to become an effective team member.

A seamless and thoughtful appointment and onboarding process is critical for setting the individual and the organization up for success. As a senior leader, make sure you carve out the time required to do this process effectively. This early investment will pay dividends in the future. Being prepared shows that you are committed to supporting your new hire in quickly gaining confidence and becoming productive in their role. 

This section outlines the critical steps required for a successful appointment and onboarding process. It also highlights best practices and other considerations organizations should make when welcoming a new employee.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

PRIOR TO THE FIRST DAY

Must:

  • Follow the Onboarding Checklist. Key steps include:
    • Setting up IT requirements
    • Setting up a workstation
    • Creating a personnel file
    • Sending an announcement to key stakeholders introducing the new employee and sharing details about their role, background, work schedule and start date
    • Contacting new hire with first day details

Best Practice:

  • Do not communicate any information to key stakeholders until you have received a signed employee agreement confirming the candidate’s acceptance of the position.
  • Contact the new employee no less than one (1) week prior to their first day to review schedule, start time and any other expectations.
  • Set up a meeting on the employee’s first day with relevant staff individually and/or as a team.
  • Ensure all pre-boarding documentation has been received from the employee.
  • Review the Onboarding Checklist to guide and inform the onboarding process.
  • Update the Onboarding Checklist as required for your organization.

Resources:

FIRST DAY

Must:

  • Welcome the new employee upon arrival and review the schedule for the day.
  • Ensure the schedule includes the following:
    • Building/site tour
    • Introduction to staff and colleagues
    • Introduction to the organization, its mission, values, organizational structure, programs and services
    • Health and safety orientation, including emergency response protocols
    • Review of IT, telephone, filing and email systems
    • Review of key human resources and financial policies and procedures
    • Direction to key background or contextual documents and processes specific to the organization
  • Collect the employee’s personal and appointment information for payroll purposes which can be recorded on a Staff Appointment Form. Key information to collect is:
    • Full name
    • Address (current and/or permanent)
    • Birthdate
    • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
    • Direct deposit information
    • Title of position
    • Full-time or part-time (FTE)
    • Term: fixed or on-going
    • Salary
    • Budget source
  • Send an organization-wide announcement welcoming the new employee and introducing them to the team. Encourage staff to stop by and say hello to the new employee.
  • If not included in the employee agreement package, and as applicable, review and have the new employee sign the following documents:

Best Practice:

  • Use an Onboarding Checklist and Health & Safety Orientation Checklist to ensure all key items are covered. Require that the new employee and their manager sign the document upon completion to ensure both parties agree that key discussions were had and understood.
  • Use the Employee File Checklist & Guidelines to ensure all key items and relevant appointment documents have been signed and included in the employee’s CONFIDENTIAL personnel file.
  • Provide an opportunity at the end of the first workday to debrief with the new employee and discuss the plans and work priorities for the remainder of the week.

Consider:

  • Scheduling parts of the day with other key stakeholders and/or staff, so the new hire has the opportunity to interact with different people.

Resources:

FIRST WEEK

Must:

  • Discuss work priorities, timelines and deliverables.
  • Ensure new employee is properly set up on payroll, as well as in other systems as required.
  • Update:
    • Office phone list
    • Website and phone messaging
    • Calendar invitations

Consider:

  • Reviewing business expense claims and the petty cash process, as required.
  • Ordering business cards, as required.

FIRST 1-3 MONTHS

Must:

  • Schedule weekly check-ins.
  • Schedule and conduct a performance review in the first 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Schedule and conduct a final probation review before the end of the probation period – generally around the 10-week mark.

Best Practice:

  • Revise the probationary goals in the performance plan, if required.
  • Suggest relevant learning resources (e.g., websites, newsletters).
  • Provide opportunities for knowledge sharing with other team members.
  • Identify potential learning opportunities for the new employee to attend.

Consider:

  • Consulting your Engagement Partner for additional suggestions and support where required.

PROBATIONARY REVIEW

Must:

Best Practice:

  • Schedule a performance review before the end of the probationary period.
  • Establish at least one performance goal for the probation period using the Performance Review - Probation Period form.

Resources:

Compensation & Benefits

Effective compensation programs are designed to support the organization in attracting and retaining high-calibre talent. Effective compensation strategies balance internal equity, external market, and ease of administration. It thinks about ‘total compensation’ and considers factors beyond salary to reward and retain employees. These may include benefits such as health coverage, paid time off, and/or retirement benefits; as well as non-quantifiable factors such as culture, recognition, flexible work arrangements and/or development opportunities. Research consistently indicates that non-salary compensation is extremely vital to the engagement and satisfaction of employees.

The following section provides guidelines on what to consider when developing your organization’s compensation strategy.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

COMPENSATION STRATEGY

Must:

  • Articulate a compensation strategy and framework that ensures employees get paid for their services. A good compensation strategy balances internal equity, external market, as well as ease of administration and ensures transparency and equity within the workplace.

Best Practice:

  • As they grow in size and complexity, organizations will often hire an external consultant to conduct a compensation review. A compensation review considers how similar positions are compensated in the marketplace and helps guide the senior leadership in developing a compensation strategy that reflects organizational values and resource availability.
  • Organizations will conduct regular reviews and update of their compensation strategy to reflect changes in the market to ensure they maintain their competitive edge.

SALARY

SALARY DETERMINATION

Must:

  • Establish practices and/or policies that ensure pay equity and transparency.

Best Practice:

  • Compare market rates for similar roles to determine a basic salary range for roles.
  • When conducting your market comparison, select other not-for-profit organizations to compare salaries. Roles in the health authorities have larger budgets and are often compensated at a higher rate than like roles in not-for-profit organizations.

Consider:

  • When determining a starting salary for an employee, consider the years of experience and training they bring to the role.
  • Reviewing the salaries of other positions in your organization to ensure that there are justifiable differences in starting salaries that relate to differences in the roles. The differences in salaries should reflect differences in the level of skill, effort, responsibility, and risk required.
  • Some organizations start with a lower salary and offer a 5% salary increase upon successful completion of the probation period.

SALARY PROGRESSION

Must:

  • Establish practices and/or policies that outline the mechanisms for salary progression.

Best Practice:

  • More and more workplaces are moving away from cost-of-living increases and are attaching salary increases to performance on the job. Based on the size of the potential salary increase on an effective evaluation of an employee’s competence, capacity and meritorious performance in the workplace.
  • Create a policy that outlines your organization’s practices regarding salary progression. For instance, the policy could state that salary increases are based on performance in the position and budget availability.
  • Indicate that funding for pay increases is reviewed annually by the organization’s board of directors and is approved based on the organization’s ability to pay for increases.

Consider:

  • At minimum, allow for a cost-of-living increase (COLA) to be applied every year.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Must:

  • Consider options for supporting the health and wellness of your staff.

Best Practice:

  • In organizations that can afford it, and whose size of staff team allows, they will invest in a group health benefits plan for their employees.
  • In lieu of a group health benefits plan, other organizations offer health and wellness pay. Health and wellness pay may be an additional 5 to 10% of their salary or an annual amount intended to be used to support employees seeking the health supports they need. With this additional funding, employees could pay for prescriptions, glasses, physiotherapy appointments and other health benefits traditionally covered under a group health benefits plan. Employees may be required to apply for this funding by submitting receipts for services used, and/or these entitlements are added to their regular pay cheque.

Consider:

  • Prioritizing the health of your employees and identifying ways to support their well-being.

PENSION PLAN

Consider:

  • A group pension plan or RRSP contributions are benefits that larger organizations usually include in their total compensation plan for employees.
  • Small organizations may not be able to afford nor have the size of staff to make a group pension plan feasible.
  • An RRSP contribution for the most senior manager(s) of an organization may be part of their total compensation package.

PAID TIME OFF

Must:

  • At minimum, organizations must align their internal policies and practices to the Employment Standards Act.
  • Vacation Time:
    • The Employment Standards Act states that full-time employees are eligible for a minimum of two (2) weeks of paid vacation every year.
  • Statutory Holidays:
    • In addition, employees are eligible for paid time off on statutory holidays, or overtime when required to work during a statutory holiday.

Best Practice:

  • Vacation Time:
    • Most workplaces create a paid time off policy that incentivizes long-term engagement by increasing paid vacation entitlements for continuous years of service.
      • For example, some workplaces have a policy that states that every full-time employee gains an extra week of holiday every five (5) years, up to a maximum of five (5) weeks of vacation.
  • Statutory Holidays:
    • While commonly recognized, Easter Monday and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays. Many workplaces treat these two days like statutory holidays and give employees the time off. 
    • Similarly, the National Day for the Truth and Reconciliation currently only applies to federally regulated public and private sectors. While employers that are governed by BC’s Employment Standards Act are not required to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, employers have the choice to honour the new statutory holiday.

EDI Best Practices:

  • In accordance with the Employment Standards Act, employees may substitute another day off for a statutory holiday if the employer and employee agree to the substitution. Employees affected by the substitution have the same rights and their employer has the same duties (e.g., statutory holiday pay) as if the other day were a statutory holiday. Employers are required to retain records of any such agreements with employees for at least 4 years.
  • Some workplaces, to recognize the diversity of their staff, allow their employees to replace Easter Monday and Boxing Day with another day to celebrate an ethno-cultural event of their choosing. This option is given to employees where the workplace has the option of them working on those two designated days (Easter Monday and Boxing Day).

Leaves of Absense

There are several types of leaves available to employees, as outlined in the federal and provincial Employment Standards Act and other related legislation. These are referred to as statutory leaves and are available to employees regardless of how long they have worked, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. These leaves represent the minimum entitlements for all employees in Canada and/or British Columbia.

Many workplaces supplement the leaves offered to employees through provincial and federal legislation. Some workplaces will offer to continue to pay full or partial amounts of the employee’s wages while they are on a statutory leave. Some workplaces offer additional leaves of absences, such as short-term sick leave, professional development leave, educational leave and/or a general unpaid leave of absence.

This section reviews the responsibilities of the employer and employee regarding leaves, leave management and record keeping. It outlines best practices that workplaces can adopt to ensure they are well-positioned to support the health and wellness of their employees. It articulates some of the common challenges and complexities workplaces can discover in managing leaves of absence and provides the tools and resources to successfully navigate common leave requests.

For more information on statutory leave of absence, refer to the Employment Standards Act.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

EMPLOYER

Must:

  • NOT prevent employees from accessing leaves for which they are entitled under the Employment Standards Act or applicable legislation.
  • Remember that an employee who is on leave from the organization is still employed. In other words, an employee’s employment is considered continuous while on an authorized leave or a statutory leave and they remain eligible for annual vacation and termination entitlements, wage and benefit increases, as well as pension, medical or other benefits available to the employee.
  • NOT terminate an employee on leave for reasons related to the leave.
  • Place the employee in their original or comparable position upon their return from the leave.

Best Practice:

  • Employers should keep a record of all leaves and leave requests.
  • For more information on administering leave requests, see the Leave Management & Record Keeping section.
  • Employers must have clear policies and/or processes around leaves in an employee handbook or employee manual.
  • For more information, see the Employee Handbook Template.

Resources:

EMPLOYEES

Must:

  • Connect with their supervisor as soon as possible to request or discuss the need for a leave of absence.
  • Make the request for leave in writing and include proposed start and end date.
  • Submit any supporting documentation for a leave of absence at the time of the request or within a reasonable time frame.
  • Speak to their employer in advance of returning from a leave to confirm arrangements and ensure a smooth transition.

LEAVE MANAGEMENT & RECORD KEEPING

Must:

  • Keep a record of leaves taken by employees.
  • Submit a Record of Employment (ROE) to Service Canada when an employee has had or is anticipated to have:
    • An interruption of earnings for seven (7) consecutive days; or,
    • A reduction in salary below 60% of their regular earnings because of illness, injury, pregnancy, the need to care for a newborn or child placed for the purposes of adoption or the need to provide care or support to a family member who is critically ill.
  • Submit a Record of Employment (ROE) regardless of whether the employee intends to file a claim for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
  • Establish mechanisms to stop and resume an employee’s pay when they go on an unpaid leave of absence.

Best Practice:

  • Create policies to address leaves of absence in your workplace.
  • Use a Leave of Absence Form or a time management system to record an employee’s leave of absence.
  • Require employees to submit a Leave of Absence Form and attach all supporting documentation, such as the employee’s written request and any additional documentation to support or prove the need for the leave.
  • Set a meeting with the employee to discuss the leave request and confirm details using the Leave of Absence Checklist.
  • Complete a Leave of Absence Confirmation Letter to confirm the terms of the leave.
  • When an employee goes on a leave of absence for medical reasons, the employer must request medical sign-off from the employee’s care provider to ensure they are fit to return to work.
  • A return to work plan needs to be developed in cases where the care provider approves a gradual return to work (e.g., working limited days and/or times or with limited duties).
  • Once the return to work plan is finalized, confirm details using the Medical Duty to Accommodate Letter.
  • Keep all leaves of absence forms and supporting documentation in an employee’s personnel file.

Resources:

TYPES OF LEAVES

MATERNITY, PARENTAL & ADOPTIVE LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Maternity Leave:
    • A birth parent has a basic entitlement of up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave.
    • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.
    • Employees are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) to provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who take unpaid time away from work to care for a new child.
  • Parental Leave:
    • Up to 62 weeks of parental leave.
    • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.
    • Employees are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) to provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who take unpaid time away from work to care for a new child.
  • Adoptive Leave:
    • Up to 62 consecutive weeks of adoptive leave.
    • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.
    • Employees are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) to provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who take unpaid time away from work to care for a new child.

Conditions:

  • Maternity Leave:
    • Maternity leave must be taken during the period that begins no earlier than thirteen (13) weeks before the expected birth date and no later than the actual birth date.
    • Maternity leave continues for at least six (6) weeks after the birth. A certificate from a doctor or nurse practitioner is required if an employee wants to return to work sooner.
    • If the employee is unable to return to work for reasons related to childbirth, the leave can be extended for six weeks (for a total of 12 weeks).
    • Employees can take up to six (6) consecutive weeks of leave starting on the date a pregnancy ends.
    • Maternity leave can be combined with parental leave.
      • For more information, see the Parental Leave section.
  • Parental Leave:
    • Parental leave may begin any time within 78 weeks after the child’s/children’s birth.
    • Both parents can take one full period of parental leave.
  • Adoptive Leave:
    • Adoptive leave may begin any time within 78 weeks after the child or children are placed with the parent.

Must:

  • The employer must submit a Record of Employment (ROE) to Service Canada when an employee goes on maternity, parental or adoptive leave.

Best Practice:

  • Unlike other leaves, the workplace is often aware of a pending maternity, parental and adoptive leave well in advance and can use this time to prepare a smooth transition.
  • Managers should connect with their employee who will be going on leave well in advance to discuss the intentions, including intended start and end date of leave.
  • Some larger workplaces will top-up the Employment Insurance (EI) benefits employees are eligible for through Service Canada and will cover up to 95% of an employee’s salary for the first three (3) to six (6) months. Often this salary top-up is dependent on the employee returning to work full-time for the equivalent of six (6) months at the end of their leave.
  • Recruiting and hiring a maternity leave replacement is often critical to ensure proper organizational support and coverage during the employee’s extended leave of absence. Make sure to post and select a new incumbent well enough in advance to provide overlap between the replacement and out-going employee. During the overlap time, the departing employee can train and orient their replacement.

FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Up to five (5) days of unpaid leave in each employment year to help with the care, health or education of a child under the age of 19 in their care.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.

Conditions:

  • Family responsibility leave can also be used to care for the health of any other member of their immediate family.
  • Family responsibility leave does not accumulate from year to year.

Consider:

  • Some workplaces choose to re-name family responsibility leave to personal leave and open up the eligibility for this additional time to employees who may or may not have family under the age of 19 in their care, but who could still use time off throughout the year to attend to personal matters. The time can remain unpaid or be offered as a paid leave of absence available to all staff every year.
  • Other workplaces treat this leave as a general unpaid leave of absence and record it in payroll as such.

COMPASSIONATE CARE LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Up to 27 weeks of unpaid leave within a 52-week period of care for a family member who is terminally ill.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.
  • Employees are eligible for compassionate care Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who take unpaid time away from work to provide end-of-life care or support to a family member who has a significant risk of dying within six (6) months.

Supporting Documentation:

  • When it is reasonably possible to do so, the employee must supply their workplace with a medical certificate that confirms the family member has a serious medical condition and is at risk of death within 26 weeks.

Must:

  • The employer must submit a Record of Employment (ROE) to Service Canada when an employee goes on compassionate care leave.

CRITICAL ILLNESS OR INJURY LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Up to 36 weeks for a child and up to 16 weeks to care for a family member over the age of 19 whose health has significantly changed as a result of an illness or injury and the life of the family member is at risk.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.
  • Employees are eligible for compassionate care Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who take unpaid time away from work to care for a critically ill or injured child or adult.

Supporting Documentation:

  • When it is reasonably possible to do so, the employee must supply a medical certificate that confirms:
    • The health of the family member has significantly changed and as a result, the life of the family member is at risk.
    • The care or support of the family member can be provided by someone who is not a medical professional.
    • The period of time that the family member will need care of support.

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Up to three (3) days of unpaid leave if an immediate family member dies.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.

Conditions:

  • This leave:
    • Does not have to be taken as three (3) consecutive days.
    • Does not need to be used for attending a funeral.
    • Does not have to start of the date of death.

Consider:

  • Some workplaces offer to continue an employee’s salary during a bereavement leave.
  • Some workplaces create a bereavement leave policy that allows employees to have three (3) days (paid or unpaid) from work for the death of a family member, plus two (2) additional days (paid or unpaid) if travel is required.

DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Up to five (5) days of paid leave and five (5) more days of unpaid leave per calendar year if an employee is impacted by this kind of violence.
  • In addition, up to fifteen (15) more weeks of unpaid leave during the calendar year.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.

Conditions:

  • This leave can be applied to parents of a child or dependent impacted by this kind of violence.
  • An employee’s right to this leave does not depend on how long an employee has been employed.
  • While on the paid leave an employee earns an average day’s pay for each day of leave. An average day’s pay includes salary, commission, statutory holiday pay and paid vacation days.

Best Practice:

  • If an employer seeks documentation to support the request for this leave, the employee can provide documentation of how that time will be used (seeking new housing, speaking to children’s school teachers, etc.), as opposed to documenting the experience of this kind of violence.

LEAVE RESPECTING THE DEATH OF A CHILD

Entitlement:

  • Up to 104 weeks of unpaid leave if the employee’s child dies.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.

Conditions:

  • The leave ends after 104 weeks off, or if the employee has taken time off in different units, the last day of the last unit of time.

LEAVE RESPECTING THE DISAPPEARANCE OF A CHILD

Entitlement:

  • Up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave if the child disappears as the result of a crime.

Conditions:

  • The employee may take leave in different units of time with the employer’s consent.

RESERVISTS LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Employees who are reservists for the Canadian Forces are entitled to 20 days of unpaid leave in a calendar year for the following reasons:
    • Being deployed to a Canadian Forces operation outside of Canada
    • Participating in pre- or post-deployment training activities
    • Being deployed to assist with an emergency or its aftermath in Canada

VOTING

Entitlement:

  • Employees are entitled to four (4) consecutive hours free from work to vote in a provincial election.
  • Employees are entitled to three (3) consecutive hours free from work to vote in a federal election.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.

Conditions:

  • This entitlement does not mean employees get to take off their whole entitlement to vote. The time is to be used when required and necessary.
  • Employers can determine when their employees can take time off to vote.

Best Practice:

  • Create a policy and/or practice that outlines the employee’s entitlement for time off to vote.
  • Include a description of the policy and/or practice in an employee handbook or employee manual.

EDI Best Practices:

  • Some workplaces, to recognize the diversity of their staff, allow eligible employees time off to vote in an Indigenous election.

Resources:

COURT OR JURY DUTY

Entitlement:

  • Employers must give employees unpaid leave to participate in the jury selection process and to serve as a juror.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.

Supporting Documentation:

  • To get a leave of absence to attend jury selection or duty, the employee must provide proof of service as a juror and/or court appearance requirements.

Best Practice:

  • Create a policy and/or practice that outlines the employees’ entitlement for time off to attend jury selection and duty.
  • Articulate in the policy that the employee will need to request an unpaid leave of absence or use vacation time to attend court for personal matters.
  • Include a description of the policy and/or practice in an employee handbook or employee manual.

Consider:

  • Some workplaces have a policy and/or practice that states that the employer will continue to pay the employee’s salary while they serve as a juror. The policy also then states that any stipend or monies received while serving as a juror will be reimbursed to the employer.

Resources:

MEDICAL, DENTAL & OTHER APPOINTMENTS

Entitlement:

  • There is currently no legislation that provides employees with time off (paid or unpaid) to attend medical, dental and other appointments.
  • Employees can use their unpaid family responsibility leave to attend medical appointments, if required.

Best Practice:

  • Create a policy and/or practice that allows employees to use their banked sick time (if one exists) to attend medical, dental and other appointments.
  • Include a description of the policy and/or practice in an employee handbook or employee manual.

Resources:

SICK LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Effective January 1, 2022, employees covered by the Employment Standards Act, and who have worked for their employer for at least 90 days, are eligible for up to five (5) days of paid leave per year for any personal illness or injury.
  • Eligible employees are additionally entitled to up to three (3) days of unpaid leave per year for personal illness or injury.
  • If required, employees can apply for Employment Insurance benefits (Medical EI) if they meet the requirements.
    • For more information, visit here.
  • Once an employee has exhausted their Employment Insurance (Medical EI) benefits, they are eligible to apply for long-term disability insurance.
    • For more information, visit here.
  • If an employee is injured on the job, they may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation Coverage.
    • For more information, see the Workers’ Compensation Leave section.
    • For additional information, visit here.

Supporting Documentation:

  • Employers may request a medical report from a qualified medical practitioner for employees who are away from work for an extended period of time.
  • Workplaces should determine what would constitute an extended period of time for their organization. In some workplaces a medical report is requested after three (3) consecutive days off sick. Other workplaces request a medical report if the employee requests an extended medical leave.
  • The medical report from the employee’s qualified medical practitioner should contain the following information:
    • Nature of the illness
    • Dates of the absence
    • Dates medical attention was sought
    • Outline of how the illness affects the employee’s ability to perform their duties
    • Expected date of return to work, if known
  • After an extended medical leave, the employee should be required to meet with their qualified medical practitioner for a medical examination and report determining their suitability to return to work.
  • Some medical reports will indicate that the employee should have a gradual return to work, working part-time for a number of weeks before returning to full-time duties. Some medical reports indicate that the employee should have modified duties, for example, not lifting items over 10 kilograms for a month.

Best Practice:

  • Create a policy and/or practice that allows employees to earn sick time to be taken as paid time off when required. Include guidance as to when medical documentation will be required.
  • Many workplaces have a policy or practice that allows employees to earn sick hours every month up to a maximum amount. This accrual amount is pro-rated for part-time employees.
    • For example: employees earn the equivalent of one (1) day or 8 hours of sick time every month up to a maximum of fifteen (15) sick days or three (3) weeks, after which accrual ends until the sick time hours fall below the equivalent of fifteen (days).
  • Some workplaces have a policy and/or practice that states that if an employee has not accumulated enough sick leave credits to cover the amount of time they need to be away from work due to illness or an accident, the employee can use unused vacation time and/or take an unpaid leave of absence for the remainder of time they need to be absent.
  • Include a description of the policy and/or practice in an employee handbook or employee manual.

Resources:

COVID-19-RELATED LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • Employees are entitled to unpaid leave for as long as any of the following applies in relation to COVID-19:
    • The employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is acting in accordance with:
      • Instructions or an order of an medical health officer; or
      • Advice of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse
    • The employee is in quarantine or self-isolation in accordance with:
      • An order of the provincial health officer;
      • An order made under the Quarantine Act (Canada);
      • Guidelines of the BC Centre for Disease Control; or
      • Guidelines of the Public Health Agency of Canada
    • The employer, due to the employer’s concern about the employee’s exposure to others, has directed the employee not to work
    • The employee is providing care to another person (e.g., the employee’s child), including because of the closure of a school or daycare or similar facility
    • The employee is outside the province and cannot return to BC because of travel or border restrictions
    • A prescribed situation exists relating to the employee
  • Until December 31, 2021, employees are entitled to up to three (3) days of paid leave during the leave period described above.
  • Employees are entitled to paid leave of up to three (3) hours for the purposes of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • This is a statutory entitlement through the Employment Standards Act.

Supporting Documentation:

  • If requested by the employer, the employee must, as soon as practicable, provide reasonable sufficient proof that the employee is entitled to this leave.
  • An employer must not request, and an employee is not required to provide, a note from a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LEAVE

Entitlement:

  • In the event an employee gets injured on the job, they may be eligible for a leave of absence supported and managed through Workers’ Compensation Coverage.
  • If eligible, the employee may be entitled to salary compensation to address salary lost for being away from work due to a workplace injury, hazard exposure or accident.

Must:

Best Practice:

Performance Growth & Assessment

Performance management is an on-going process involving a series of activities to help employees succeed and attain organizational goals. It should not be relegated to a once-a-year annual review process. When done well, performance management is a conversation between the employee and their supervisor/manager that includes discussions about employee goals, expectations, hopes and visions, as well as clear and thoughtful feedback from the supervisor about strengths, areas of growth and opportunity.

This section outlines some of the best practices related to supporting and growing your staff. It provides you with clear guidelines and forms to use when having performance management discussions with staff. By using these tools, it is hoped you will have meaningful and thoughtful staff engagement that fosters and encourages organizational success.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

EMPLOYER

Must:

  • Provide regular and thoughtful feedback to employees.
  • Share their reflections of the employee’s work and identify areas where the employee has succeeded and/or challenged themselves, as well as areas where the employee needs to continue to learn and grow.
  • Guide the conversation and allow the employee a chance to share and elaborate on their past year’s performance.
  • Finalize their assessment of the employee’s level of competence in the core areas of their job.
  • If applicable, determine the employee’s salary progression adjustment for the coming year.

EMPLOYEES

  • Reflect on their performance over the past year, noting areas of success and growth and identifying goals for the coming year.

PROVIDING FEEDBACK

Must:

  • Engage employees in regular conversations about performance, expectations, areas of strength and growth.
  • Schedule regular check-ins. Use check-ins to provide real-time feedback and coaching. 
  • Set up regular review meetings to discuss progress towards achieving goals established in the performance plan. At minimum, schedule two (2) probationary review meetings during the probation period and an annual review every calendar year.
  • Identify and proactively address any performance issues to help prevent escalation.

Best Practice:

  • Do not wait for a scheduled check-in to bring up an issue. Provide regular feedback to the employee to keep them engaged and feeling valued.
  • Where areas of growth or concern are identified, follow-up any formal or informal discussion with the employee with an email to the individual documenting the conversation (e.g., ‘Thank you for meeting with me to today. I appreciated the opportunity to share my reflections on the events … As discussed, my expectation is…’). These documented discussions can be useful later should the problem not be resolved and you need to prove that these issues have been discussed with the employee.
  • Maintain confidential and objective documentation of issues and actions taken.
  • Support the growth and development of your employee by actively supporting and seeking out professional development opportunities for them. This can be anything from funding participation in a conference or a course, to forwarding them interesting articles.
  • If performance issues seem to be escalating, review information found in the Discipline & Termination section.

Consider:

  • Creating a professional development policy and/or protocol that outlines your organization’s commitment to employee growth. This can include supporting employees to identify professional development opportunities and requesting either paid time off, or funding support that will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It can also include a more formal arrangement such as allocating a designated amount of money per employee, per year for a professional development event or activity that has mutual benefit to the employee and the organization. 
  • Having a third [neutral] party attend performance review meetings to take notes, be a second set of ears and to ensure the conversation is productive and safe for all parties.

Resources:

DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

Having difficult conversations is critical for the health of any organization. Difficult conversations can trigger lots of emotions in those who initiate them and/or receive them.

Must:

  • Ensure you find and create a safe space to hold your discussion.
  • As appropriate, give the individual advance notice about what the topic of conversation will be so they can feel prepared and ready.
  • Spend time preparing for the discussion to clarify the purpose and objective of the meeting. Zero in on the key messages you wish to communicate.
  • Determine what follow-up will be required and/or the timeline for addressing the identified concerns.

Best Practice:

  • Follow-up the meeting with a written email to the employee(s) involved to summarize the discussion and highlight any follow-up items and/or to-dos.

PROBATIONARY REVIEWS

Each new employee has a probation period that commences on their start date. Standard probationary periods range from 3 months to 6 months to one (1) year. The probation period allows the employee and the employer time to mutually determine the suitability and/or fit with the organization.

Must:

  • Schedule two (2) performance review meetings with each employee before the end of their probationary period – one near the early part and one near the end of the probation period.
  • Give the employee clear feedback using examples to demonstrate where they have capacity and strength and where they need to grow and learn.

Best Practice:

  • Collectively define achievable goals for the probationary period to demonstrate capacity in the role and gain exposure to all aspects of the position.
  • Use the Performance Review - Probation Period form to collect and document feedback.
  • Use the probationary review meetings as an opportunity to learn more about how the employee is enjoying the job and what additional supports they need, or questions they may have.

Resources:

ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

Must:

  • Conduct a performance review with every employee a minimum of once a year.
  • Document the discussion and save in the employee’s personnel file.

Best Practice:

  • There should never be surprises in formal evaluation meetings. Identify and address performance challenges in ongoing performance management conversations. Do not save these for formal evaluation meetings.
  • Use annual performance reviews to set goals and discuss the future of the organization and how the employee fits into the plan.
  • As appropriate, discuss succession planning, the employee’s career plans, and/or aspirations.
  • Send the employee the Performance Review - Self Assessment form to complete in advance (and return) before the meeting.
  • Compare the employee’s assessment and your own assessment to identify where your thinking is aligned and mis-aligned in advance of the meeting. This will help inform the main points of discussion you wish to focus on in the meeting.
  • Discuss different strategies and/or approaches they can take to build capacity and/or better work strategies to address where they may not be meeting expectations.
  • Capture the discussion and any goals or strategies discussed in the Performance Review - Reviewer Assessment form and send a copy to the employee for their records and review.
  • Request that the employee sign the Performance Review - Reviewer Assessment form and add any reflections that you would like to include with the document. Save in their personnel file.

Consider:

  • Use the annual performance review process to inform salary increases.
    • See the Compensation section.
  • Conduct quarterly performance check-ins with staff.

Resources:

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Best Practice:

  • Provide learning opportunities that are essential for the growth and development of employees.
  • If organization-wide professional development opportunities are not feasible, the employer may choose to give each employee a yearly stipend to spend on training and certification programs.

SUCCESSION PLANNING

Must:

  • The employer must plan ahead for potential vacancies in key positions. To identify which positions should be the highest priority, consider the following:
    • Risk of the vacancy occurring
    • Organizational and/or team impact of the vacancy
    • Current short- and long-term plan to address each position if a vacancy were to occur

Consider:

  • Contacting your Engagement Partner for additional support

Discipline & Termination

In the event that an employee’s conduct is so egregious and performance management is not resulting in a change in behavior, disciplinary measures and/or termination must be considered. As in all employment matters, the disciplinary process must be fair, constructive, and consistent. The objective process should be focused on resolving and addressing unacceptable conduct or performance. Similarly, a termination whether for cause or not for cause, must be informed, well documented and respectful. The objective of the process must be focused on supporting the employee in their exit from the organization in a fair, clear and transparent manner.

The following section outlines the considerations an MSA executive should make when preparing for and executing discipline. We discuss a progressive disciplinary process with five (5) different stages and/or levels of consequences to reflect differences in the nature of the conduct or performance issue. Depending on the severity of the misconduct or the frequency of its occurrence, the progressive disciplinary process can start at any of its stages.  

In this section, we also discuss the considerations and steps for executing a termination process. Terminations can be done for cause or not for cause. A for-cause termination is a termination that is the result of a severe error in actions or judgement, such as a violation of the company code of conduct or ethics policy, a breach of contract, violence or threatened violence, stealing, etc. A not-for-cause termination is when the termination is being done as a result of no fault of the employee but due to a lack of fit between the employee and the employer, change in need of the organization, end of funding, etc.

Disciplines and terminations can be complex and difficult to navigate. If you have questions or need support, it is recommended that you reach out to an expert in human resources who can support you and your employees in these matters. By using the tools and following the guidelines provided, you will know of the key considerations and best practices regarding these matters and will be better informed to execute a thoughtful, fair and equitable process.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

EMPLOYER

Must:

  • Advise the employee of the unacceptable conduct and/or performance and give the employee opportunity to explain their actions before any disciplinary action is taken.
  • Inform the Board of Directors, as applicable, before any disciplinary action is taken.
  • Investigate misconduct and document findings in writing, preferably by a second person who is taking notes. Notes must include the date, the parties present, and what was said and asked.
  • Ensure all disciplinary conversations are held confidentially and objectively documented.
  • Ensure all letters or documents related to the disciplinary process are placed in the employee’s personnel file.
  • Ensure any terminations are done in accordance with the Employment Standards Act.
  • Ensure all letters or documents related to the disciplinary process are placed in the employee’s personnel file.

EMPLOYEE

Must:

  • Be aware of their job expectations and responsibilities.
  • Seek the training and/or assistance they need to be successful in their role.
  • Identify gaps in their understanding.
  • Hear and respond to feedback provided by management.
  • Work to create a positive and open work environment.

PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE

The employer has a responsibility to inform employees of unsatisfactory performance in a timely and open manner and, where appropriate, to provide employees an opportunity to correct unsatisfactory performance. Except for very serious offenses resulting in dismissal for just cause, the employer may support a progressive discipline approach.

Progressive discipline intends to raise the employee’s awareness of the problem and the need to change based on an escalation of consequences for failure to comply. These escalating consequences may include the following five (5) steps:

  • Step 1: Verbal Warning
  • Step 2: Written Warning
  • Step 3: Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
  • Step 4: Suspension
  • Step 5: Termination

Depending on the nature of the misconduct and other factors, the ‘step’ the employer chooses to initiate may vary.

VERBAL WARNING

Verbal warnings are used for minor unacceptable conduct and/or performance.

Must:

  • Discuss the unacceptable conduct and/or performance with the employee, so that they understand the expected standards of performance, reason for warning, any remedial action they are required to take as a result of their actions, and consequences if unacceptable conduct and/or performance continues.
  • Objectively document the discussion that occurred and place the notes in the employee’s personnel file.

Best Practice:

  • Follow-up any verbal warning with an email to record what was discussed and the need for a change in behavior. Use the email chain to document the discussion and save in the employee’s file.

WRITTEN WARNING

Written warnings are used for repeat of minor unacceptable conduct and/or performance after verbal warning, or for conduct and/or performance which is more serious in nature.

Must:

  • Complete a Written Warning Letter outlining the details of the infraction. Describe the unacceptable conduct and/or performance to ensure the employee understands the expected standards of performance, reason for warning, any remedial action they are required to take as a result of their actions, and consequences if unacceptable conduct and/or performance continues.
  • Review the content of the Written Warning Letter with the employee.
  • Objectively document the discussion that occurred and save the notes, along with a copy of the written warning, in the employee’s personnel file.

Best Practice:

  • Have a neutral third-party present at the meeting when presenting an employee with any kind of disciplinary action.
  • Sometimes to accompany a written warning, workplaces will create a performance improvement plan for the employee. See the Performance Improvement Plans section.

Resources:

SUSPENSION

  • In rare circumstances, suspension may be used during an investigation, especially if the investigation involves a sensitive matter (e.g., an allegation of sexual harassment).
  • The employee must be notified of the reason for the suspension and its expected duration. This must be objectively documented and a copy of the notice must be included in the employee’s personnel file.
  • Suspension may be a period of paid or unpaid leave. Suspensions during investigations will be paid except in rare circumstances.

Best Practice:

  • Consult a lawyer and/or human resources professional before proceeding with a possible suspension.

Consider:

  • Seeking legal advice if considering paid or unpaid suspensions and, in particular, if an investigation process is required.

TERMINATION

  • This means ending employment of the employee. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when terminating an employee for cause or other reasons. The next section outlines important information you need to know when considering the termination of an employee.

DETERMINING DISCIPLINARY REQUIREMENTS

Must:

  • Consider multiple factors when determining the appropriate ‘step’ to start your progressive discipline.What ‘step’ you start your progressive discipline should depend on several factors including, but not limited to:
    • Past record: Is the unacceptable conduct and/or performance consistent or inconsistent with past conduct and/or performance of the employee?
    • Length of service: How long has the employee been with the organization?
    • Intent: Did the employee act with willfulness or intent, or was the unacceptable conduct and/or performance due to carelessness or inattention?
    • Frequency: How many times has the unacceptable conduct and/or performance occurred?
    • Timeframe: Has the unacceptable conduct and/or performance occurred frequently in a relatively short period of time?
    • Repetition: Has a similar or the same unacceptable conduct and/or performance happened before? How long ago was the previous occurrence? Previous incidents may become less relevant to new discipline as time has passed and the unacceptable conduct and/or performance issues have not reoccurred.
    • Seriousness: How serious is the unacceptable conduct and/or performance, and has it had a negative impact on the organization and/or other employees? In cases of very serious misconduct, termination of employment might be the most appropriate course of action even if the employee has a clean disciplinary record.
    • Treatment of others: How have other employees been treated for the same or similar unacceptable conduct and/or performance? If the employee or other employees engaged in similar conduct in the past without discipline being imposed, then it may be difficult to justify discipline for the same conduct, in which case the employee might have to be put on notice that the conduct is unacceptable, before more serious discipline can be imposed.
    • Provocation: Was the employee provoked by the actions of another individual(s)?
    • Knowledge: Was the employee aware that their conduct was unacceptable, or the level of performance expected of them?
    • Recognition of error and apology: Has the employee admitted to the unacceptable conduct and/or performance and apologized or made remedies?

Best Practice:

  • Review all questions and gather facts as they relate to the specific situation. This will help determine the level of disciplinary action required.

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLANS

The Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is an objective and clearly outlined plan created to ensure the employee understands the expectations with regards to conduct and/or performance within their role. It must outline any remedial action they are required to take as a result of their poor conduct and/or performance, as well as the consequences if unacceptable conduct and/or performance continues.

PREPARING A PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLAN

Best Practice:

  • The PIP should articulate the following:
  • The expectations of the workplace and/or description of the acceptable conduct and/or performance required for success in the role
  • The consequences of failing to meet expectations
  • How improvement will be measured
  • What follow-up meetings and/or progress reports will be required
  • The length of time the employee will be under review

Consider:

  • Consider offering appropriate resources or training to the employee to assist in their improvement. Include a description of the recommended training and/or additional resources the workplace will offer and/or require.
  • Consider including a place for the employee and manager to sign the document acknowledging receipt and understanding.

MEETING WITH THE EMPLOYEE

Best Practice:

  • Meet with the employee and review the performance improvement plan in detail, answering any questions.

FOLLOW- UP AND DOCUMENTATION

Best Practice:

  • Objectively document the discussion that occurred and place a copy of the notes and the PIP in the employee’s personnel file.
  • Hold regularly scheduled meetings with the employee to monitor progress against the PIP and provide any necessary support.

TYPES OF TERMINATION

An employer can terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, provided that the reasons are not based on discriminatory grounds as set out by the British Columbia Human Rights Code. Protected characteristics include race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, age, or because a person has been convicted of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the employment or to the intended employment of that person.

There are two types of terminations: terminations with cause and terminations without cause.

TERMINATIONS WITHOUT CAUSE

Definition:

  • Termination without cause means ending an employee’s employment not for workplace misconduct. Possible reasons for termination without cause include restructuring, cost-cutting, realignment or poor work performance

Entitlements:

  • An employee who has been terminated not for cause is entitled to a notice period. A notice period is a length of time from the date on which notice of termination is given to an employee to the date on which employment will terminate. See the Notice Requirements, Working Notice & Severance section.
  • Minimum notice requirements are informed by the Employment Standards Act and any applicable contractual notice or severance entitlements that are articulated in company policy or the employee’s employee agreement.

TERMINATIONS WITH CAUSE

Definition:

  • If an employee is terminated with (or “for”) cause, the employee is not entitled to notice of termination. 
  • Employment may be terminated for cause after other disciplinary measures have been unsuccessful in correcting unacceptable conduct and/or performance, or when a first time incident occurs that is illegal or otherwise very serious in nature. Some examples of conduct or performance that might constitute “with cause” include but are not limited to:
    • Theft
    • Intentional harassment
    • Instigating a fight on company property
    • Consuming or distributing illegal drugs on company property
    • Intentional destruction of property
    • Insubordination
    • Dishonesty
    • Willful disobedience and/or failure to comply with safety rules and company policies
  • In cases of terminations with cause, the burden of proof for just cause rests with the employer.

Entitlements:

  • An employee who has been terminated for cause is not entitled to a notice period.

NOTICE REQUIREMENTS, WORKING NOTICE & SEVERANCE

Notice requirements and/or severance entitlements are subject to all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, including requirements established by the Employment Standards Act. Employers have the option of paying out the employee’s notice period, also known as providing severance, or providing the employee with working notice.

Notice of termination or severance is not appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • Employee voluntarily resigned
  • Employee is in their probationary period
  • Employee retired
  • Employee was dismissed for just cause
  • Employee was employed for a definite term and the term has expired
  • Employee worked on a casual basis doing temporary assignments which they could accept or reject

DETERMINING NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

Must:

  • Determine an employee’s eligibility for notice or pay in lieu of notice according to the Employments Standards Act, the terms of any employment contract if equal to or greater than the minimum required by the Employments Standards Act, or other relevant legislation.
  • Provide the employee with written notice and/or compensation based on their length of service.

Best Practice:

  • For all matters related to termination (“without cause” or “with cause”) seek advice in advance from a lawyer and/or human resources professional to assess the situation and prepare proper termination documentation.

Consider:

  • Other factors such as the age of the employee and their ability to secure similar work can be used when determining an appropriate notice requirement.While not required as per the Employment Standards Act, these considerations have informed what is considered appropriate in the workplace.A lawyer and/or human resources professional can advice you on what would be an appropriate notice requirement.
  • Employers may want to consider providing additional severance pay in exchange for a ‘release’ to ensure that the employee does not later bring a claim against the employer arising from their employment or the cessation of their employment.
  • See the Severance & Release section for more information.

WORKING NOTICE

Working notice is when an employer requires the employee to work out their notice period.This option is appropriate in circumstances where the employee has been hired for a set term and has a pre-established end date since they were hired.

Consider:

  • Working notice is a reasonable option when the end date for the position is pre-established and all parties are clear on the parameters and expectations of the role.
  • Working notice is not an appropriate option in situations where employment is ending for unexpected and unanticipated reasons and the employee may have an emotional reaction to the news. Requiring employees work through their notice period in these conditions often leads to low morale and can have a negative impact on the whole organization.

SEVERANCE & RELEASE

Severance refers to ‘paying out’ the employees notice period entitlement. Often in these cases, employers will provide additional severance pay in addition to the minimum required by the Employment Standards Act

Release refers to a written document the employee is required to sign outlining the terms in which they will receive additional payment (i.e., severance). In a release may be terms related to confidentiality, etc.

Best Practice:

  • A lawyer or human resources professional will provide you with an assessment of whether a release would be beneficial and the amount of additional severance pay that would be appropriate

Consider:

  • If you only provide the minimum notice required by the Employment Standards Act, you cannot require the employee to sign a release.

Resources:

PREPARING FOR TERMINATION

Must:

  • Proper documentation is critical. Prepare the required document in advance to present at the meeting.
  • Prepare and follow the Internal Ending Employment Checklist and Ending Employment Checklist:
    • Prepare communications for immediate release to other employees, board and key stakeholders. Exercise caution with internal and external email communications concerning the reason for the employee’s departure. The reasons for an employee’s termination are personal information which must not be shared. 

Best Practice:

  • Prepare a script to guide the termination conversation, ensuring it is clear to the employee that the decision is firm and irrevocable. The content of your message and how you phrase it depends on the reason for termination.
  • Determine who in the company will handle reference requests, which should only be one person, preferably a supervisor or someone in Human Resources.
  • Establish an interim reporting structure when a senior position is terminated.
  • Contact your Engagement Partner for guidance on responding to questions.

Consider:

  • Determine whether your organization is prepared to provide a reference for the employee’s potential future employers.
  • Providing a letter of reference which only sets out the employee’s position, duties, and dates of employment and restricts reference requests to the information contained in the letter. 

Resources:

CONDUCTING THE TERMINATION

The following are general suggestions to assist with the termination process:

Must:

  • Be prepared with the following:
    • Two (2) copies of the termination letter confirming the decision and the details of additional severance pay and release (as applicable); one (1) copy in an envelope is for the employee being terminated
    • Self-addressed and stamped envelope for return of signed release (as applicable)
    • Paycheque or direct deposit information for final pay
    • Termination conversation script
    • Internal Ending Employment Checklist and Ending Employment Checklist

Meeting Logistics:

  • Conduct the termination in the employee’s office or a neutral site.
  • Have two (2) senior persons present for the termination, one of whom will be the spokesperson.
  • Keep the termination meeting as short as possible. Refrain from engaging in any detailed discussion about the reasons for the termination with the employee.
  • Request that all company belongings be returned immediately or by a specified date if not readily available. Pre-arrange a time and place to meet as appropriate. 
  • Provide the employee with a box and invite the employee to gather their belongings immediately or offer to do it for them at a later date and return to them via courier.
  • Ensure they leave the building without providing the appearance that they are being forcibly escorted out of the building.
  • Ensure employee has a way to get home safely. 

Note: The termination process applies to a termination without working notice. If someone is given working notice, they would not be asked to leave immediately, pack up their items, etc.

Best Practice:

  • Meet at the start/end of the day, when fewer employees are around.
  • Meet at the beginning of the week as this provides the employee with the opportunity to seek counsel (lawyer, financial advisor, etc.).
  • Do not ask the employee to sign the release immediately. Inform the employee that you do not want them to sign it right away and encourage them to take time to consider the release and seek independent legal advice prior to signing it.
  • Use the Internal Ending Employment Checklist and Ending Employment Checklist to guide you and provide the employee clarity about items that must be returned.
  • Offer the employee the option to take a taxi (paid for by the employer) if they do not feel they are able to drive.

Consider:

  • Having a list of items that are required to be returned for the employee to use as a reference.

Resources:

FOLLOWING TERMINATION

Must:

  • Immediately make notes about the termination meeting, including the date and time, for future reference in case any litigation ensues.
  • Meet with remaining team members to answer “now what?” Share any new reporting structure information and provide reassurance while maintaining confidentiality of the terminated employee and the process.
  • Send communications and/or set up meetings as appropriate to notify any other team members, the board and key stakeholders.
  • Confirm all final paperwork is prepared and submitted (e.g., Record of Employment (ROE)).
  • If you are willing to provide a reference, ensure that the person assigned to give the reference is aware of what they may share with potential employers who request a reference.

Resignations & Retirements

This section discusses the process and procedures related to when an employee decides to end their employment with your organization. Unlike in a termination where the employee may or may not have notice in advance of their departure, employee-initiated resignations or retirements mean the organization has time to prepare and ensure a smooth transition of information, projects and relationships. This process of ensuring a smooth transition, organizational stability and supporting the final stage of an employee’s life cycle is called offboarding.

Offboarding leads to the formal separation between an employee and employer, and involves not only exit interviews and feedback opportunities - which are discussed below - but also transferring the employee’s workload while you hire their replacement; initiating final pay and payouts (e.g., vacation, benefits, overtime); turning in equipment, tools and keys; deactivating access rights and passwords; etc.

With both onboarding and offboarding, the more time and care you take with these processes, the better experience your employees will have. Departing employees do not want to end their last day feeling unappreciated, nor do they want to receive an email two weeks later asking for their office keys. An effective offboarding process supports the organization’s reputation, improves your employee’s working experience, and helps build advocates for the organization.

This section reviews some of the key steps to supporting an employee and your organization through the end of employment.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

TYPES OF REASONS

RESIGNATION OR RETIREMENT

Must:

Best Practice:

  • Encourage the employee to set up a meeting with their supervisor to discuss their intentions and collectively determine a last date recognizing that employees are protected by employment standards and are entitled to give only the minimum notice.

Resources:

FUNDING CAME TO AN END / ROLE NO LONGER NEEDED

Must:

  • Give written notice to the employee when their employment is coming to end either due to a lack of funding and/or a change in organizational need.
  • Follow the notice requirements in accordance with the Employment Standards Act. Using the same template for a not for cause termination, you can outline the terms of the termination, end date of employee agreement and whether the employee is being given a working notice or pay in lieu of notice (severance).
  • For more information on terminations not for cause, see the Discipline & Termination section.

Best Practice:

  • Even when an employee has a term appointment and they know when their employment agreement will end, meet with them in advance and give them a written “without cause” termination letter indicating their last day.

TERMINATION WITH CAUSE / WITHOUT CAUSE

Must:

  • Follow the procedures for termination with or without cause as per the Discipline & Termination section.

Best Practice:

  • Terminations with or without cause sometimes do not allow for managers to have a lot of transition time to complete the offboarding process. In these instances, managers will need to be organized and complete the off-boarding checklists without the participation and/or cooperation of the employee.

ADMINISTRATIVE & OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Must:

  • Work with the departing employee to initiate offboarding procedures to ensure a smooth transition for both the employee and organization.
  • Arrange a meeting to ensure the departing employee understands the final terms of their employment and that administrative and operational loose ends are addressed. Use the Ending Employment Checklist to guide the discussion between the departing employee and their manager.
  • Support employee in preparations to leave their position and initiate key activities to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Use the Internal Ending Employment Checklist to guide this process. Key steps include:
    • Transferring the employee’s workload
    • Initiating final pay and payouts (e.g., vacation, benefits, overtime)
    • Submitting a Record of Employment (ROE)
    • Turning in equipment, tools and keys
    • Deactivating access rights, passwords, etc.
    • Sending out communications regarding the change in staffing to internal and external stakeholders
    • Conducting an exit interview

Resources:

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Best Practice:

  • In advance of an employee’s departure, they should be asked to prepare a transition document that outlines key information that will support the next person in the role. Elements to include in the transition document are:
    • Project descriptions and status reports
    • Key contact information
    • Password information
    • Description of filing system
    • Calendar of upcoming events and deadlines
  • The employee and their supervisor should review this document, in advance of the employee’s departure, to allow an opportunity to ask questions and seek further clarification.

EXIT INTERVIEW

Best Practice:

  • Offering employees the opportunity to have an exit interview is part of organizational best practice. Employees are the main drivers of organizational success, so it is important to learn from them - why they stay, why they leave, what changes need to be made - to continue to grow.
  • Below are five (5) main objectives of an exit interview:
    • Uncover issues relating to HR
    • Understand employee’s perception of the work
    • Gain insight into managers’ leadership styles and effectiveness
    • Foster innovation by asking about areas for improvement
    • Create lifelong advocates for the organization
  • To conduct an exit interview:
    • Identify a neutral person to lead the meeting with the employee. Ideally the exit interview will be led by someone like an HR Manager or the senior leader at a partnering MSA.
    • Ask if the employee would like to have the exit interview conducted in person, over the phone or via email.
    • If the employee would prefer to do it via email, you can send the list of questions to the employee for them to fill out and return.
    • The person conducting the exit interview will be responsible for identifying key themes that were revealed through the interview, protecting the interests of the departing employee and following up on any matters that were significant and may require investigation.

Occupational Health & Safety

Occupational Health and Safety refers to the requirements an employee and employer are expected to implement and follow to ensure organizational safety and well-being. In British Columbia, WorkSafeBC establishes the organizational standards that employers are expected to implement.

This section outlines WorkSafeBC requirements and provides tools and guidelines for how MSAs and Physician Societies can meet these obligations and support the health and well-being of their employees.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

EMPLOYER

Must:

  • Establish and enforce health and safety policies and regulations from WorkSafeBC and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • Train managers in their health and safety responsibilities.
  • Ensure that all workers are provided with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to protect their health and safety.
  • Ensure all workers are properly equipped and use personal protective equipment as needed.
  • Consult and cooperate with the Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) Committee or Worker Safety Representative, and WorkSafeBC prevention officers.
  • Conduct an annual review of the health and safety program.
  • Maintain a safe, clean and healthy work environment at all worksites.
  • Ensure first aid attendants are appointed for each worksite.
  • Arrange for the training of first aid attendants and track their certification.
  • Ensure that first aid supplies are stocked and first aid records are kept in a secure manner.
  • Ensure that all workers know where emergency supplies are stored.
  • Ensure that instructions for calling for help in an emergency are posted in a central location.
  • Ensure that all workers are made aware of all known or reasonably foreseeable health and safety hazards, including any risk of violence.
  • Correct unsafe acts and conditions without delay.
  • Report injuries to WorkSafeBC and the HR Department in the prescribed manner.
  • Investigate all accidents, injuries and hazards.

WORKERS

Must:

  • Perform their work in a safe manner and encourage co-workers to do the same.
  • Use the personal protective equipment provided.
  • Learn and follow safe work procedures.
  • Ensure their ability to work safely is not affected by alcohol, drugs or other causes.
  • Report injuries, accidents, unsafe acts, hazards and broken equipment immediately to their supervisor.
  • Correct hazards in a safe manner.
  • Inform management of any physical or mental impairment which may affect their ability to work safely.
  • Participate in inspections and investigations, where appropriate.
  • Help create a safe workplace by recommending ways to improve health and safety programs.
  • Cooperate with the JOHS Committee or Worker Safety Representative, and WorkSafeBC prevention officers.

WORKER HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVES & JOHS COMMITTEES

Must:

  • As stipulated by WorkSafeBC, once a workplace has more than 9 workers but fewer than 20 workers, the organization requires a Worker Health and Safety Representative. A Worker Health and Safety Representative is an employee who has been tasked with ensuring that WorkSafeBC standards are being met, and for executing and implementing the occupational health and safety requirements.
  • If a workplace has 20 or more workers, the organization must have a JOHS Committee. The primary role of a Worker Health and Safety Representative or a JOHS Committee is to promote the improvement of the occupational health and safety, and the occupational environment, of workers. This may include:
    • Making recommendations to address any unhealthy or unsafe situations in the workplace
    • Monitoring the effectiveness of the organization’s health and safety policies and procedures
    • Ensuring that accident investigations and regular inspections are carried out as required
    • Other duties as required
  • The Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) Committee must be made up of an equal number of employee and employer representatives.
  • Worker Health and Safety Representatives and members of a JOHS Committee must be provided with training by the employer to learn about their duties, the requirements around conducting workplace inspections, the requirements around responding to a refusal of unsafe work and more.
    • Training tools and information offered by WorkSafeBC can be found here.

Best Practice:

  • Use the Worker Health & Safety Representative Job Description or the JOHS Committee Terms of Reference to clarify and formalize the duties of the Worker Health and Safety Representative or the JOHS Committee. These documents will outline roles and responsibilities and other critical administrative matters to ensure clarity and accountability.
  • For JOHS Committees, a JOHS Committee Meeting Agenda should be drafted for each meeting and distributed well in advance to members. The meeting agenda provides space for the meeting’s minute taker to write notes, reminds members to confirm the minutes from the previous meeting, and helps ensure no task falls through the cracks and is forgotten.

Resources:

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY TRAINING

Must:

  • Every organization is required to provide new and existing workers with occupational health and safety training and/or orientation to ensure they are familiar with the organization’s health and safety processes and policies.
  • On-going health and safety training must be provided by the employer to ensure workers are up to date on occupational health and safety best practice.

Best Practice:

  • Use and adapt the Health & Safety Orientation Checklist to ensure all new and current workers are oriented to the protocols and measures your organization has implemented to ensure their safety, health and well-being.
  • Require the worker and their manager to sign off that they have received a health and safety orientation and save the completed checklist and signed form in their employee file.

Resources:

WORKPLACE INSPECTIONS

One of the most important aspects of occupational health and safety is regular workplace inspections. The purpose of a workplace inspection is to identify occupational hazards, prevent unsafe working conditions from developing, and assess risk in the workplace on an ongoing basis.

Must:

  • Conduct regular workplace inspections.
  • Conduct a workplace inspection whenever an incident occurs.
  • Post in a central location the details about hazards that have been identified through the workplace inspection.
  • Ensure the workplace addresses any hazards identified in a timely manner.
  • File all workplace inspections and hazard reports in a central location.

Best Practice:

  • Conduct monthly workplace inspections.
  • Adapt and use the Workplace Inspection Checklist to guide and record the inspection.
  • Use the Hazard Report to document any hazards identified through the workplace inspection.

Resources:

RIGHT TO REFUSE UNSAFE WORK

Must:

  • If a worker has reasonable cause to believe that performing a job or task puts themselves or someone else at risk, they must not perform the job or task. The employer, including the Worker Health and Safety Representative or the JOHS Committee, is responsible for taking the appropriate steps to determine if the work is unsafe and remedy the situation without delay.
  • If a worker still views work as unsafe after the employer has said it is safe to perform a job or task, an investigation must take place in the presence of the employee and the Worker Health and Safety Representative or a member of the JOHS Committee.
  • If the matter is still not resolved, the worker and the employer must contact WorkSafeBC. A prevention officer will investigate the situation and provide a workable solution.

FIRST AID

Must:

  • To determine an adequate and appropriate level of first aid coverage in the workplace, the employer is expected to first conduct a first aid assessment. A first aid assessment involves:
    • Identifying the number of workplaces
    • Identifying the workplace hazard rating as determined by WorkSafeBC
    • Considering the travel time to a hospital
    • Identifying the number of workers on a shift
    • Determining the applicable minimum levels of first aid as stipulated in the OHS Regulation (Schedule 3A)
  • After completing a first aid assessment, the employer can review the findings and take the necessary steps to put proper first aid procedures in place.
  • When workplace incidents do occur, any necessary first aid treatments will be carried out immediately by a certified first aid attendant in the workplace, whenever possible.
  • Details of any treatment must be recorded on a First Aid Record which should be attached to the first aid kit itself.

Best Practice:

  • An employer may consider conducting a first aid drill once a year. This drill should test workers’ awareness of how to call for first aid, how well the communication system works, and the capability of first aid attendants. It will also help determine if the current levels of first aid are adequate to deal with incidents mostly likely to occur in the workplace.

Resources:

EMERGENCY RESPONSE & PREPAREDNESS

Must:

  • To determine an adequate and appropriate level of emergency preparedness, the employer is expected to first conduct a vulnerability assessment to identify which hazards pose a threat to the workplace. After completing a vulnerability assessment, the employer can review the findings and take the necessary steps to put proper emergency procedures in place.
  • Common elements to be considered in an Emergency Response and Preparedness Plan include pre-emergency preparation and provisions for alerting and evacuating staff, handling casualties, and for containing hazards.
  • Workers must be knowledgeable about evacuation routes, safe meeting locations, and the location of emergency kits.

Best Practice:

  • A workplace may consider having at least four (4) hard copies of the Emergency Response and Preparedness Plan: one copy to be posted in a common area in the workplace; one for the MSA executive; one to be stored at their office; and one to be stored in their vehicle or home.

WORKING ALONE OR IN ISOLATION

Must:

  • The employer must have procedures in place to ensure the well-being of workers who work alone or in isolation. Lone workers may be at increased risk of confrontations or even violence, particularly if they are working at night. Lone workers must be able to get assistance if they are injured or if there is an emergency.

Best Practice:

  • The employer may consider implementing check-in procedures for workers working alone or in isolation. These check-in procedures may include:
    • Designated time intervals for checking a worker’s well-being (these time intervals must be developed in consultation with the employee assigned to work alone or in isolation)
    • Procedures to follow in case the worker cannot be contacted, including provisions for emergency rescue
    • A designated person to establish contact with the worker at predetermined intervals, and a means to record the results of these checks
    • Procedures for checking an worker’s well-being at the end of the work shift

BIO-HAZARDOUS EXPOSURE PREVENTION

Must:

  • To determine an adequate and appropriate level of bio-hazardous exposure preparedness, the employer is expected to first conduct a risk assessment to identify which hazards pose a threat to the workplace. After completing a risk assessment, the employer can review the findings and take the necessary steps to put proper exposure control procedures in place.
  • Common elements to be considered in an Exposure Control Plan include the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), appropriate vaccinations for workers, and the disposal of bio-hazardous materials.
  • Workers must be knowledgeable about how and when to report exposure incidents.

REPORTING WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS, ILLNESS, INJURY, NEAR MISSES & FATALITIES

Must:

  • In the event of a workplace accident, illness or injury, the affected worker must immediately seek and receive first aid in the workplace. A certified first aid attendant must be notified to treat and assess the individual. If the injury cannot be treated in the workplace, the worker must travel to the nearest medical facility.
  • For a serious injury, 9-1-1 must be called to secure immediate medical attention. If the injury does not require ambulatory transportation, the employer must arrange immediate transportation to a facility. The worker may be accompanied to the medical facility by another colleague who can record the details of the incident.
  • Once at the medical facility, the attending medical professional must be informed that the worker is being treated for a work-related accident, illness or injury.
  • At the medical facility, the worker must complete WorkSafeBC’s Form 6A: Worker’s Report of Injury or Occupational Disease as soon as is reasonable.
  • All worker are expected to cooperate with emergency personnel to address the situation.

INCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS

Must:

  • With the support of the Worker Health and Safety Representative or the JOHS Committee, the employer is responsible for immediately conducting an investigation into any incident that involves:
    • Serious injury to a worker or a worker’s death
    • Injury requiring medical treatment
    • Minor injury, or no injury, but had the potential for causing serious injury
    • Major structural failure or collapse
    • Major release of hazardous substances
    • Dangerous incident involving explosive materials
    • Blasting incident causing personal injury
  • Immediately after an incident requiring an investigation occurs, the employer must contact WorkSafeBC.
  • Within 48 hours of the incident, the employer must conduct a preliminary investigation and prepare WorkSafeBC’s Employer Incident Investigation Report (Form 52E40).
  • Within 3 days of the incident, if a worker was injured the employer must submit WorkSafeBC’s Form 7: Employer’s Report of Injury or Occupational Disease.
  • Within 30 days, the employer must complete and submit a full investigation report to WorkSafeBC, including any corrective actions.
  • Additional information and documents may need to be prepared, depending on the information provided by WorkSafeBC. The Workplace Incident Report template may be used to record the details of the incident.

Resources:

RECORDS & STATISTICS

Must:

  • The employer must maintain records and statistics relating to occupational health and safety as required by the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Best Practice:

  • Occupational health and safety records and statistics may be used to:
    • Monitor and evaluate the health and safety performance of the workplace and its workers
    • Identify common factors or trends in accidents or incidents
    • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of corrective actions

Workplace Policies

This chapter outlines policies and procedures that can support the governance and operational structure of your organization. The first section highlights two (2) policies that are required within your workplace – a bullying and harassment policy and a privacy policy – while subsequent sections provide suggestions of policies that you may want to consider for your workplace.

Depending on the size of your organization, you may choose to implement a HR policies and procedures manual or include your policies within an employee handbook. For smaller workplaces, an employee handbook may be sufficient. An Employee Handbook Template can be found here

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.

MANDATORY WORKPLACE POLICIES

BULLYING & HARASSMENT POLICY

Must:

  • As per WorkSafeBC, employers must implement a bullying and harassment policy (sometimes known as a respectful workplace policy) that is applicable to all employees, contractors, board members, volunteers, etc.
  • Workplaces are required to ensure all employees are aware of the organization’s bullying and harassment policy.
  • Workplaces are required to review their bullying and harassment policy on a yearly basis.
  • An example of a bullying and harassment policy (also known as a respectful workplace policy) can be found here
  • Additional resources can be found on the WorkSafe BC website here

Best Practice:

  • This policy may include sections on:
    • Definitions
    • Roles and responsibilities of the employer and employees
    • Conditions that are applicable to the policy, such as protection of complainants; confidentiality; complaints against the MSA executive; etc.
    • Procedures that are applicable to the policy, such as distribution of the policy and the complaint resolution process.

PRIVACY POLICY

Must:

  • The employer must implement a privacy policy that is applicable to all employees, contractors, board members, volunteers, etc.
  • This policy may cover the collection, use and disclosure of personal information; the protection of personal information; accessing personal information; and retaining personal information.

Best Practice:

  • This policy may include sections on:
    • Definitions
    • Roles and responsibilities of the employer and employees
    • Conditions that are applicable to the policy, such as the collection, use and disclosure of personal information; the accuracy and protection of personal information; accessing and updating personal information; the retention and destruction of personal information; the employer’s right to access its own technology systems (e.g., internet use, email); potential data breaches; etc.

PERSONNEL POLICIES

Consider:

  • Implementing the following policies concerning personnel:
    • Recruitment
    • Employee Selection
    • Offer of Employment
    • Orientation
    • Probation Period
    • Termination Not for Cause
    • Voluntary Resignation of Employment
    • Termination for Cause
    • Retirement
    • Exit Interviews
    • Reference Inquiries

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS POLICIES

Consider:

  • Implementing the following policies concerning compensation and benefits:
    • Hours of Work
      • Meal and Rest Periods
      • Alternative Work Schedules
      • Flex Time Arrangements
      • Shift Scheduling
      • Overtime
      • Additional Hours Worked
    • Compensation
      • Salary Determination
      • Salary Progression
      • Promotion
      • Additional Responsibilities
    • Administration of Pay
      • Pay Schedule
      • Direct Deposit
      • Statutory Deductions
    • Benefits
      • Group Health and Welfare Benefits
      • Canadian Pension Plan
      • Employment Insurance Benefits
      • Benefits While On Leave
    • Leaves of Absence
      • Medical, Dental and Other Appointments
      • Court/Jury Duty
      • Voting
      • Professional Development and Education Leave
      • Sick Leave (Short-Term)
        • Long-Term Disability
        • Workers’ Compensation Coverage
        • Return to Work
      • Maternity, Parental and Adoptive Leave
      • Bereavement Leave
      • Compassionate Care Leave
      • Critical Illness or Injury Leave
      • Family Responsibility Leave
      • Leave Respecting the Disappearance of a Child
      • Leave Respecting the Death of a Child
      • Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave
      • General Leave Without Pay
    • Vacation and Holidays
      • Vacation
      • Statutory and Paid Holidays

TERMS & CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT POLICIES

Consider:

  • Implementing the following policies concerning the terms and conditions of employment:
    • Confidentiality
    • Conflict of Interest
    • Secondary Employment
    • Employment of Family Members and Personal Relationships in the Workplace
    • Criminal Records Check
    • Personal Appearance
    • Substance Use
    • Attendance, Lateness and Absenteeism
    • Working Remotely
    • Inclement Weather
    • Pets at Work
    • Changing Employee Personal Information
    • Release of Employee Information
    • Personnel Files
    • Media Inquiries
    • Acceptable Use of Information Technology
    • Social Media
    • Personal Cellphone Use
    • Personal Property
    • Fraud and Theft
    • Professional Membership and Association Fees

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS POLICIES

Consider:

  • Implementing the following policies concerning employee relations:
    • Performance Appraisal
    • Progressive Discipline
    • Complaint Procedure
    • Investigations
    • Dispute Resolution
    • Job Abandonment
    • Duty to Accommodate

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY POLICIES

Consider:

  • Implementing the following policies concerning occupational health and safety:
    • Occupational Health and Safety
    • Occupational Health and Safety Training
    • Inspections
    • Emergency Response and Preparedness
    • Working Alone or in Isolation
    • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
    • Communicable Disease Prevention in the Workplace
    • Violence Prevention in the Workplace
    • First Aid
    • Reporting Workplace Accidents, Illness, Injury, and Near Misses and Fatalities
    • Incident Investigations
    • Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee and Worker Health and Safety Representative

ALLOWANCE, EXPENSE & FINANCIAL CONTROL POLICIES

Consider:

  • Implementing the following policies concerning allowances, expenses and financial controls:
    • Reimbursement of Expenses
    • Meal Expenses
    • Travel Expenses
      • Air Travel
      • Accommodation
      • Automobile and Other Transportation
    • Personal Vehicles Required for Employer Business
    • Mileage
    • Company Credit Cards