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Employers will be banned from taking servers' tips under proposed BC legislation

The provincial government has put forward new legislation for workers.

Among the proposals are changes to the age at which children can work (broadly rising from 12 to 16) and the introduction of rules protecting servers’ tips.

Other changes include:

  • Up to 10 non-consecutive days of unpaid job-protected leave for workers trying to escape domestic violence

  • Potential for up to 15 weeks of consecutive unpaid leave for the same workers

  • Up to 36 weeks unpaid job-protected leave for workers caring for ill children and 16 weeks for ill adults

  • The extension of the recovery period in which workers can recover owed wages from six to 12 months – with the possibility of the period being extended to up to 24 months

“When you have a problem at work, you deserve to have your voice heard and your problem solved,” Minister of Labour Harry Bains said.

“You deserve to get the full pay you’ve earned. And you should be able to take the time you need to find the safety you need when you’re at risk from domestic violence.”

Bains said that under previous legislation (from 2003) there were children as young as 12 being put at risk of serious workplace injuries.

“We are pleased that these long-overdue changes to B.C.’s child employment laws are being brought forward,” said Adrienne Montani, provincial co-ordinator of First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.

“For the past 15 years, employers have been allowed to hire children for inappropriate and dangerous work and too many of them have gotten injured doing those jobs each year.”

The new legislation, however, will include exemptions allowing children aged 14 and 15 to perform “light work” such as stocking shelves in a grocery store.

Children will also continue to be allowed to work in live entertainment providing they have parental consent.

The legislation will also regulate tips and tip pooling.

Employers will be barred from withholding or deducting tips from workers.

They will also be prohibited from requiring workers hand over their tips.

Tip pooling will be allowed so long as the employer only shares in the pool when they perform the same work as the other staff in the pool.

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