“The 96-hour Rule” (Right to Refuse Call In)

Just to be clear, the 96-hour call in rule comes into force on JANUARY 1, 2019 (next year!)

While I can appreciate the need to have some sort of criteria for “last-minute” call in definitions, for purposes of workplace attendance and discipline, I find this rule to be too broad.

The new rule, Section 21.5 of the Employment Standards Act, states,

“An employee has the right to refuse an employer’s request or demand to work or be on call on a day that they were not scheduled to work or be on call, if the request or demand is made less than 96 hours before the time he or she would commence work or commence being on call, as applicable.”

The rule does not apply if the employer’s request or demand to work or be on call is to deal with an emergency; or to remedy or reduce a threat to public safety. Emergency means, “a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise, or is a situation in which a search and rescue operation takes place”.

The huge impact of this rule, of course, is on our customer-service based organizations.  Cashiers, food servers, shift workers, and similar positions will be much tougher to staff during high-stress times, such as cold and flu season and Christmas.

The best way to manage this situation will be to develop a list of the people who are willing to come in on shorter than 96-hours’ notice.   It is going to require clear policies on when and how people can be called in, and who will be called.

Beat the rush! Contact me to get started on your policy updates!