Ontario hourly minimum wage jumps to $14 on Jan. 1, changes to personal leave and vacation coming

Ontario workers earning the minimum wage will see a jump in their hourly rate starting on New Year’s Day after the provincial government passed labour reform legislation earlier this year.

As of Monday, the general minimum wage will increase to $14 from $11.60. The change precedes another increase in 2019 when the hourly wage will increase to $15.

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The wage increase comes before the provincial election in June. The minimum-wage boost has proved largely popular in government polling and with labour advocates, though it is controversial with businesses, who say the increase comes too quickly and will lead to job losses.

READ MORE: Ontario passes labour reform bill, minimum wage rises to $15 in 2019

The wage increase is included with several other changes being introduced by the Ontario government.

Beginning next year, employees who have been with the same company for five or more years will be entitled to three weeks of vacation, up from the current two weeks.

Workers at companies with less than 50 employees will also be allowed to take up to 10 days of personal emergency leave during each calendar year.

READ MORE: Ontario business coalition urges five-year implementation of minimum wage hike

For those who need to take medical leave, there will be a noticeable jump in time off allowed — up to 28 weeks a year from the current eight weeks.

Changes are coming to the existing crime-related leave for parents of a child who disappears — an increase to two years from one.

The Ontario government is also introducing two new leave categories. Under the domestic or sexual violence leave, it would allow employees to take up to 10 days away and up to 15 weeks of job-protected leave. The government said the first five days would be paid. Also, under a new child death leave, workers can take up to two years off.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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