Guest Post: How BC Employment Standards Apply to Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
In British Columbia, the Employment Standards Act (the Act) sets minimum standards for wages and working conditions in most workplaces. The Act applies to all non-union employees under provincial jurisdiction except those who are excluded by regulation.
Section 31 of the Employment Standards Regulation lists a number of professions and occupations that are excluded from coverage under the Act. Although a number of health professions are excluded, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are not excluded. This means pharmacists, pharmacy students and pharmacy technicians who are non-union employees of a pharmacy are covered by the Act and entitled to its protections.
The Employment Standards Branch administers and enforces the Act. The Act is intended to ensure that employees in BC receive at least basic standards of compensation and conditions of employment, to promote the fair treatment of employers and employees, to encourage open communication and to provide fair procedures for resolving disputes under the Act.
The Act covers issues such as hours of work and overtime, vacation time and pay, statutory holidays and termination of employment. For example, employees who work more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week are entitled to overtime. Employees are entitled to statutory holiday pay if they have been employed for more than 30 days before the holiday and have worked at least 15 of those 30 days. Eligible employees who work on a statutory holiday are also entitled to be paid at the rate of time and a half their regular wage.
The Act also contains requirements relating to reporting to work, meal breaks, split shifts and minimum daily hours. For example, an employee who works more than five hours in a row is entitled to a half hour unpaid break. If the employer requires the employee to remain at the worksite in case a customer requires assistance, the break must be paid. A split shift must end within 12 hours of the time it began.
Questions about Employment Standards?
The Branch website contains information on the requirements of the Act.
Information line staff are available to answer questions at 1-800-663-3316 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Looking for employer resources?
The Employer’s Corner on the Branch website includes A Quick Reference Guide for Employers, Frequently Asked Questions, and other resources to help employers understand and meet BC’s employment standards.
Have a workplace issue you need to resolve?
Employers and employees are encouraged to be familiar with the provisions of the Employment Standards Act and Regulation and to try to resolve disputes between themselves when possible.
The Self-Help Kit is the first formal step an employee takes when trying to resolve a workplace problem.
If the Self-Help Kit doesn’t resolve the dispute, or the employee is not required to use the Kit, or the six month period for filing a complaint is almost up, the employee may file a complaint.
Learn more about the Employments Standards Branch complaints process on the Branch website.
Employment Standards Branch