1. Unacceptable workplace safety record.
2. High percentage of low-paid young workers
3. Widespread and significant payroll errors found in recent payroll audit.
4. Controversial human resources practices – wrongful dismissal lawsuits pending.
5. Known breaches of Occupational Health & Safety Act
6. Large percentage of foreign workers on temporary work visas – some are required to live in over-crowded company accommodation to have a job.
7. Poor regulatory oversight by Alberta OH&S and Employment Standards
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.
Sunshine Village Watch has learned that Sunshine Village is currently being investigated by Alberta Employment Standards for matters related to the adjustment and rounding of employee time records. Alberta Employment Standards has confirmed that an employee must be paid for the exact amount of time worked. If payroll and time recording policies result in the employee being shorted then Employment Standards will investigate and rectify any problems found. This investigation applies to employees who worked for either Sunshine Village or Aramark Canada’s food and beverage operations at Sunshine. Employment Standards has not confirmed if any complaints received so far have been found to be valid.
Sunshine Village Watch previously reported on this worker’s rights issue at Sunshine Village.
Employment Standards has also confirmed that any past or current employee who believes that their pay records may not reflect their actual hours of work should submit a complaint to Employment Standards. The more complaints that they receive the better they will be able to target their investigative procedures. Employment Standards would like to receive complaints via their online complaint form or by other methods explained on their website. An employee complaint does not require full documented evidence. Any complaints arising from last season should be submitted as soon as possible as a former employee must file a complaint with Employment Standards within six months of their last day of employment.
As current employees may be concerned about the employer becoming aware of their complaint they may request Employment Standards to keep their identity confidential.
To protect their rights, employees should keep their own accurate logs of their work hours recorded and keep all pay records which may be used as evidence to support future complaints.
Please share this information with current and former employees from last season, even those who have now returned to overseas locations.