If you are involved in an employment dispute, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible, to protect your rights.
What Is A Temporary Work Agency
Temporary work agencies are “employers” who will send staff temporary to their clients for a price. The price paid to the agency must be paid by the companies requesting the work, not by the staff. This often results in low wages for the temporary workers, and non-existent job security as often the placements are given on a day-to-day basis. There are temporary work agencies for all types of positions, but the most common are general agencies who supply office administration staff and increasingly industrial/manufacturing workers. These agencies should not be confused with temporary foreign worker agencies, as those must comply with various immigration laws, and typically hire for agricultural and homecare work.
Employment Rights Of Temporary Workers
Just like any other worker, workers employed by a temp agency must be paid at least minimum wage, they must have the same basic pay-roll deductions (EI, CPP, etc.) and they have Human Rights Code protections. It is important to remember that the workers are employees of the agency, not employees of the contracting company.
There are some additional rights which apply to temporary workers, in recognition of their precarious status, contained within the Employment Standards Act.
Some of the most notable rights applying to temporary workers include:
- The temporary work agency cannot restrict them from applying to or accepting employment from the clients of the agency.
- The employees cannot be charged a fee for getting assignments or signing up with the agency,
- The employees cannot be prohibited from for applying to or accepting jobs from client companies
- The agency cannot stop the client companies from providing a job reference to a temporary worker.
- Further if an assignment is terminated the agency must give the employee 1 week’s notice or 1 week’s pay in lieu of notice if:
- the temp employee is performing work for a client;
- the placement had an estimated length of 3 or more months; and
- the placement is terminated/cancelled before the end of its term.
Restrictions On Agency Clients
While the agency cannot stop an employee from applying or getting hired by their clients, they can charge their clients a fee if the direct employment relationship begins within the first 6 months of the temporary employee’s assignment.
Agency clients and temp agencies are jointly liable for unpaid wages, and they cannot punish an employee for asserting their Employment Standard’s Act rights.
How To Enforce Rights
If an employee has their rights violated either by an agency or a client of an agency, they can apply to the Ministry of Labour, or in some cases may be able to sue in court or apply to the Human Rights Tribunal. The appropriate venue depends on what the issue is, and what remedy is being sought.
If you are involved in a dispute, the law and procedure to enforce your rights can be overwhelming, that’s why it’s best to seek legal advice before pursuing a claim. Mehdi Au LLP has employment lawyer’s on staff who would be happy to meet with you.
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