Unionized employees

Unionized employees may have various common law or contractual rights and entitlements, but generally these have to be acted upon by the union which is a party to the collective agreement.

Unionized employees who are dissatisfied with their employer should contact the union representative, or a lawyer.  Issues arising under collective bargaining agreements can be complex.

Collective bargaining agreements (union contracts) often contain different or more onerous terms than those set out in the ESA.  In collective agreements, union members can contract out of certain ESA limitations (ESA, s 3) regarding matters such as hours of work, overtime, statutory holidays, vacations, vacation pay, seniority retention, recall, and termination of employment or layoff. As long as they have been addressed by the collective agreement, entire sections of the ESA might not apply under a collective bargaining agreement.

Employees are entitled under the ESA to certain basic protections, which are not permitted to be negotiated away in a collective agreement.  These include matters such as employment of children (ESA s. 9), payment of minimum wage (ESA s. 16), deductions (ESA s. 21), group terminations (ESA s. 64), exceptions to s. 64 (ESA s. 65), and rules about notice of termination and payment on termination (ESA s. 67, s. 68).

For more information, consult the Employment Standards Branch fact sheet on collective agreements. The Employment Standards Branch acknowledges that its fact sheets are prepared for general information purposes. They do not constitute legal advice. If your case involves these issues, legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer should be sought.

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