Q: I’ve just been hired and I was promised a certain amount per hour, but after my first two weeks on the job I’ve realized my pay is totally different. What can I do? I need the job but why would they tell me one rate of pay only to change it to something less? I’m thinking because I’m young they figure they can take advantage of me.
A: Richard, I’m sorry to hear of this situation. You are right to be frustrated. One of my very first jobs I worked for approximately a month, thinking things would get better, before deciding to quit because we did not receive breaks. I never even got paid from the company either. Sadly, I was only 15 or 16 years old and didn’t know where to go to exact my employee rights.
Luckily for you, the story will end differently. If you signed a contract or rate of pay statement indicating your hourly rate then this needs to be upheld. However, if you only made a “handshake deal” you’ll likely enter into a your-word-against-theirs battle, which will probably end with you being let go.
I encourage you to first challenge them on this. Ask why your pay doesn’t reflect what you were told or signed off on initially. If you aren’t satisfied with their response your next step will be to contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour (www.labour.gov.on.ca). You might also want to try calling the Employment Standards Information Centre at 416-326-7160 to get some one-on-one advice. While you’re at it Richard, check out http://jobs.gc.cafor government job listings including information on the Summer Experience Program. Good luck.
Q: I have recently been hired for a summer position. I am required to go once a month at the end of each month to a doctor for on-going health treatment, which will mean I will miss one day of work each month. Is this allowed?
A: My first question to you is did you mention these circumstances to your employer during your job interview or before you were hired? While it isn’t a legal responsibility for you to do so — assuming that missing one day a month isn’t a do-or-die situation for the job you are doing — it would be the considerate thing to do.
See if you can work overtime during the week to make up that eight to 10 hours you would be missing each month for your health treatment.
Many employers today are also becoming increasingly flexible in creating work-life balance for their employees. Maybe it might be a matter of you working one Saturday a month from home as another option for making up missed time.
The key is to be open with your employer. After all, your health is the most important factor! Visit the Human Resources & Social Development Canada site at www.hrsdc.gc.cafor more information.
Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.
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