VFX Artists and BC Employment Standards

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Employment Standards Self-Help: Solving Workplace Problems

The British Columbia government wants you to work out your problems with your employer, so they have designed a Self-Help Kit to assist you “solve workplace disputes quickly and fairly.”

You have six months to file a complaint from the time the problem took place or from when your employment ended. If you are within 30 days of the end of the six-month period you should file your complaint with the Employment Standards Branch and THEN use the Self-Help Kit to try and resolve your problem.

That’s right if you the VFX artist have not been paid overtime or paid for all hours worked, before you can file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch, you must fill out the Request for Payment form and bring it to your employer. The Employment Standards Act also sets a six-month limit on the period the Branch can go back to see whether your employer owes you money.

If you are unable to resolve the dispute by using the Kit, if your employer does not respond, or if you are not required to use the Kit, then you may make a complaint directly to the Employment Standards Branch. The closest office for Vancouver is located in Richmond at 250-4600 Jacombs Road V6V 3B1 Phone: 604-660-4946.

Most disputes are resolved through a process of education, mediation, and/or adjudication. All involve both parties, including possible meetings between you and your boss. This process does not seem to allay artists’ fears’ of reprisal and blacklisting. You must still ask your employer to be paid for all hours worked before filing a complaint.

Some facilities are classifying their artists as “high technology professionals” and working artists up to 70 hours a week without paid overtime, that’s seven 10 hour workdays, almost two regular work weeks! The BCCFU legal council responded:

If VFX artists wish to have the ability to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment outside of the Employment Standards Act the only avenue available to them is to be represented by a trade union covered by a collective agreement. Section 3 of the Employment Standards Act provides that where collective agreements contain provisions respecting hours or work or overtime the provisions of the Act do not apply.

Guaranteeing you a voice and a democratic process at work requires organizing. Without a union, your employer unilaterally determines the terms and conditions of your employment.

  1. Anonymous001 says:

    Great info to get out there. Who knew there was a kit.

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