Friday, April 15, 2011

Knowing Your Rights

I ended up talking to, and receiving references from, a couple of my former coworkers last night. I've known for a long time that lay offs are REALLY bad for company moral, and mine was no different. It was apparently dead quiet in the office yesterday. One of the fellows I talked to, a senior Engineer in his 60's, said that he had lost sleep Wednesday night over the fact they had laid me off, and how they went about doing it. I hate that it's hurting the people I care about at the office; we used to be like a close knit family, and this restructuring that's been happening over the last few months has all but destroyed that.

So at his urging, and at the recommendation of Daisy in yesterday's comments, I looked up and read over the labour laws in Alberta. The severance they gave me, 1 week, was all they were legally required to give me in lieu of notice. I know this doesn't sit well with the senior Eng., because it's customary in our profession to give at least 2 weeks pay, but that's all they were legally required to do.

One thing they are skirting however is that they're required to pay it to me within 3 days of my last day of work. currently they're paying me next week on the regularly scheduled pay day. I could fight them on this for the sake of principle, but to be quite honest I'm not going to. I don't actually gain any benefit having the pay delivered to me a couple days earlier, I don't require the money yet, and I'd like to save myself the headache (I've had one since Wednesday as it is). Knowing that, my respect for the company has dropped a little further though.

I had read through the Employment Standards Code a little while back, which is why I knew that the minimum severance was 1 week when I signed the papers at the office. I didn't know they were required to pay me within 3 days though. It's got me thinking I need to read the acts a little more carefully. For those of you living in Canada, you can find more information on employment legislation here:

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories

The modifications to the acts are announced in a Gazette printed twice a month through the Queen's Printer. Every province has it's own Gazette.

Anyway, I'm off to continue the job hunt. Have a good day everyone.


target10mil said...

At least you get a week of pay. That's nice. Here in the States, employers are not required to give you any pay (unless bound by a contract). I've had co-workers come into work only to be told to pack up for good and that was that.

Although we do have something called "unemployment compensation" which you can collect depending on the circumstances. I haven't read the details, but I'd assume it is similar to Canadian EI.

Best wishes on finding a new job.

Cassie said...

I'm very aware of, and was reflecting on, the fact that I'm very lucky to have the support system I have here.

I wasn't aware that in the US it wasn't legally required for companies to give some form of severance. Is that in all of the states, or just individual ones? I know the severance varies provincially here. I'm assuming the "unemployment compensation" is similar in concept to our EI as well. You pay into a fund your entire working life, and the government will pay you a percentage of your wages to a maximum amount while you actively try to find work for a limited timeframe.

Thank you for the best wishes :)