Proposed legislation to allow flex deals for Manitoba workers

Proposed legislation to allow flex deals for Manitoba workers
It may soon become easier for non-union hourly wage earners in Manitoba to balance work and family needs, as the province's Labour and Immigration Department introduces new legislation to facilitate flex-time agreements between workers and employers.

WINNIPEG — Legislation introduced last week by the provincial NDP would allow employers to enter into written, flex-time (flexible time) agreements with their individual employees.

The agreements could be used to allow workers to make up time when attending a school meeting or driving a parent to a medical appointment.

It could also allow them to work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour shifts.

Dave Dyson is executive director of the provincial Labour and Immigration Department's employment standards division.

He said he believes thousands of employees and their employers will take advantage of the law.

“We're trying to legitimize what many progressive employers are already doing, but at the same time the provisions have some protections,” Dyson said.

A difficulty in providing employees with flex-time is the current requirement that overtime (time and a half) be paid for any shift lasting longer than eight hours. Lots of employers will allow a worker to make up for lost time on another day, but they're technically breaking the law if they don't pay overtime for the longer shift.

The new regulations would let workers make arrangements with their bosses to work up to 10 hours on any given day without overtime. However, a regulation requiring employers to pay overtime for work weeks exceeding 40 hours will remain in effect.

“They can never work more than 40 hours a week without being paid overtime. It has to average back within that week,” Dyson said.