FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government introduced today amendments to strengthen the Employment Standards Act. They will improve enforcement measures available to employment standards officers to ensure better compliance with the legislation.

"Through our amendments, we are modernizing our Employment Standards Act," said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy. "The amendments are intended to protect all employees while providing a fair and enhanced administrative process for employers to remain accountable. Although most New Brunswick employers are in compliance with the current legislation, these amendments will now permit a financial penalty to be levied against employers who violate the act.”

Administrative penalties are proposed to be $150 for a first violation and increased in increments of $150 for  subsequent violations to a maximum of $900. The penalty will not be payable if violators bring themselves into compliance within 30 days of the notice of penalty.

"In addition to enhancing enforcement mechanisms, this amendment will strengthen provisions for employees when employers become insolvent, and introduce an improved appeals process," said Soucy. "With this change, employees will be better protected and better able to receive their full financial entitlements."

The current act allows for a diminishing value of 25 per cent for every two weeks following the date of insolvency for any employee lien. This sliding scale will now be repealed. In addition, the amendments introduce a requirement for monetary deposits from employers wishing to appeal director's orders to the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board.

The amendments also clarify employee banking rights. The changes will ensure employees have the right to choose the Canadian financial institution where pay is sent for direct deposit and will ensure employers provide a means for employees to view their pay stub where payment is made electronically.