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What’s legal when withholding pay

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Compensation, Legal, Moneyville | 0 comments

Copyright 2012 Toronto Star Newspapers Limited

The Toronto Star
October 22, 2012 Monday
BUSINESS; Pg. B3
430 words
Suspect your company of improperly docking pay? Here’s what to do
The Ontario of Ministry of Labour recently tweeted a link to the rules under which an employer can withhold some of your pay. It came in the aftermath of the tragic death of Toronto gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati, 44. He was run over when he chased an SUV possibly because he was worried about having to cover the driver’s $112 unpaid gas bill. He would not have been liable, under the law.
The Ontario Employment Standards Act says there are only three types of deductions that can be withheld from your wages:
Statutory deductions: These are made according to federal and provincial legislation and include income tax, employment insurance premiums and Canada Pension Plan contributions. The money deducted by your employer must be remitted to the proper authorities.
Court orders and garnishment: A court may order an employer to garnish your wages and pay the money into court. One circumstance in which this could occur is if you are in arrears on child support payments. The money deducted must be paid out in accordance with the court order.
Written authorization: Your employer may deduct money from your wages if agreed in writing. You must specify the amount of money or a method of calculating the amount to be deducted.For example, you may authorize your company to deduct money for your company pension plan or for employee benefits like dental insurance.
However, even with your written authorization, a salary deduction is not permitted in the following circumstances:There is a loss to the company due to faulty work, a mistake in a credit card transaction, work that is spoiled or rejected, or damage to the company’s tools or vehicles.
There is a cash shortage or lost or stolen property if someone other than you had control over or access to the cash or property. This includes a situation when a customer leaves without paying the bill, like in the “gas and dash” situation.
A private member’s bill called “Jayesh’s Law” was introduced Sept. 20 seeking to further protect the income and safety of gas station attendants.
Exceptions to the three rules above apply to wage deductions for room and board for agricultural workers and live-in domestic workers. In these cases, the employee must be paid at least the minimum wage before deductions are made and actually receive the meals and occupy the room.
If you think a company is improperly making deductions from your wages, first speak to your employer. If matters cannot be resolved, you can find out how to make an Employment Standards Act claim at www.labour.gov.on.ca.
Sheryl Smolkin blogs at Moneyville.ca

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