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Overtime Revisions Put Canadian GCs On Edge

Sharon Michalowski didn't think she was selling her soul to Nygard International Ltd. in November 2001 when she signed a contract to work "all hours required to be worked" to earn her $34,000 salary as a clothing store supervisor for the company's Winnipeg operations.

But Nygard thought otherwise, forcing Michalowski to work almost 300 overtime hours in the six-month period before she left the company in January 2003.

In other words, while Canadian labor laws generally exempt "managers" from overtime laws, Nygard makes it clear that labor tribunals and courts are likely to define "manager" narrowly--regardless of an employee's title or what her contract says.

And now the legislation appears to be on the verge of change.

Most troubling for employers is the lack of clarity in the approval process.

"Bill 63 states that the director can consider 'any factor he or she considers relevant' in deciding whether to issue an approval," Goodman says.


Julius Melnitzer

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