But Pam Frache, co-ordinator of the Ontario Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign, said the new law gives “the green light to employers to demand that workers work more but get paid less.”
For example, an employee who works 30 hours in weeks one and two and 60 hours in weeks three and four would normally be entitled to 32 hours of overtime pay that month. With the month-long averaging agreements that Bill 66 allows, they would get just four hours of overtime pay.
Frache said the new measures will encourage employers to assign erratic schedules to workers in order to minimize overtime payments.
“It can really introduce precarity and uncertainty and fluctuating hours,” she said.
Previously, employers required permission from the Ministry of Labour to use an averaging agreement.
“Requiring Ministry of Labour approval of overtime-averaging agreements is an essential safeguard for employees’ basic overtime protections and ensuring there are bona fide reasons for overtime averaging,” said Joshua Mandryk, a lawyer with Toronto-based labour law firm Goldblatt Partners.