A number of current and former employees of Sunshine Village received unexpected, but very welcome and long overdue cheques this Fall following a payroll audit.
Sunshine Village was investigated by Alberta Employment Standards earlier in the year as the result of a complaint. The complaint has resulted in changes for Sunshine Village’s payroll practices. An unknown number of current and former employees received backpay that in some individual cases amounted to hundreds of dollars. Cheques have reportedly been received by former employees as far away as Australia. The correction payments were accompanied by a letter from Sunshine Village that did not explain why the errors had been made nor how far back the payroll errors were accounted for. Sunshine did not include interest on the payments, which collectively amounted to thousands of dollars.
Sunshine Village Watch recommends that all employees keep personal records of their work time and payroll. This situation proves that the company’s electronic payroll system and administration is subject to major errors that, if not caught and resolved, result in earnings losses for employees who can least afford them.
Alberta Employment Standards regulations can be found at the agency’s website. Complaints for employer breach of the regulations can also be lodged online. A successful result is more easily achieved with good documentation that clearly establishes any problems due to rounding or other policies. Employment Standards has ordered Sunshine Village to adopt new rounding standards that favour the employee rather than the company.
Sunshine Village Watch considers this worker rights issue to be ongoing. Employees should not take it for granted that their payroll is correct. Particular attention should be given to statutory holiday pay, rounding of hours and overtime (especially when working for two different departments). This matter is just one more example of the need for close scrutiny of Sunshine Village’s compliance with employment regulations. Low income and minimum wage earners need and deserve every dollar that is owed to them by their employer.