Government backtracks on contentious public holiday issue on eve of election

CORNWALL — The Ontario Liberal government is reversing part of its employment legislation about calculating public holiday pay — a climbdown highlighted by the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce in a press release today.

Late Monday, the Ontario government announced it is re-instating its old public holiday pay calculation starting with the Canada Day holiday.

“This review of the public holiday pay section of the Employment Standards Act is part of our overall commitment to address the realities of the modern workplace and create a fair society,” Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said in a statement.

“The about-face, on the eve of a provincial election campaign, has some business groups hoping there could be other changes made to the controversial Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148) that took effect this past January,” observes the Cornwall Chamber.

The organization points out that small business owners were confused by the Ontario government’s new public holiday pay calculations, which increased the amount paid to some casual employees. The change discouraged some employers from bringing on casual or part-time employees due to the higher costs.

Effective July 1, public holiday pay will revert to what it was before the Bill 148 legislation. Once again, it will be calculated by dividing regular wages earned in the pay period before the public holiday by the number of days worked in that pay period.

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