Collective Agreements and Employment Standards

Employers with unionized employees must understand if and when the Employment Standards Act (British Columbia) will apply.

Collective Agreement Prevails

A collective agreement may have provisions that fall below the minimum requirements of the Act in the following areas:

  • hours of work and overtime (Part 4),
  • statutory holidays (Part 5),
  • annual vacation and vacation pay (Part 7), and
  • seniority retention, recall, termination of employment and lay-off (section 63).

As long as the collective agreement contains a provision respecting each of those matters, then the corresponding part of the Act does not apply, regardless of whether the provisions of the collective agreement meet or exceed the Act. However, if the collective agreement has no provision with respect to one of those matters, then the corresponding section or Part of the Act will be deemed to be part of the collective agreement.

Employment Standards Prevail

In other areas, the collective agreement must meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the Act. Most important are minimum wage, authorization for deductions from wages, notice requirements for group terminations, giving of notice, and leaves of absence for jury duty, pregnancy or parental leave, family responsibility leave, compassionate care leave, reservist leave and bereavement leave.

bereavement leave collective agreement compassionate care leave Employment Standards family responsibility leave group termination jury duty lay-off leave of absence notice overtime parental leave recall reservist leave seniority retention statutory holiday termination union unionized employees vacation vacation pay wage deduction work hours

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