Toronto lawyer on Global News Radio discusses remote work

A headshot of Toronto employment lawyer Lior Samfiru next to the logos for Samfiru Tumarkin LLP and radio station 640 Toronto.

Interview Summary

As restrictions lifted across the province, many employers have requested employees return to the office. While some businesses offered a flexible work arrangement, many employees who were working remotely have made their arrangement permanent. Employers who felt that all employees should return to the office have proposed pay reductions to employees who continue to work remotely. Are pay reductions as a result of remote working legal? What rights do employees have to continue to work from home?

A Toronto employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP spoke with Jeff McArthur at Global News Radio 640 to answer these questions and more.

Interview Notes

Can an employer reduce an employee’s wages if they ask to remain working remotely?

Employers in general cannot reduce an employee’s salary simply because they are working remotely. Minor reductions might not be a reason for pursuing legal recourse however reductions over ten percent can be a reason for constructive dismissal. Some employers in different situations can offer compromises for employees, and negotiations. Employees can choose to accept the reduction or refuse.

Are employees using remote work and pay changes as a bargaining tool with employers?

For employees in some circumstances, it can be beneficial for employees to agree to a reduction.  It is important to remember that acceptance from employees is considered new terms of employment. Employees who do not wish to accept new terms should voice their disapproval.

Can employers offer reduced wages to new hires if they work remotely?

In some situations, companies could be changing their business model and restructuring. Employers would be within their rights to offer a reduced salary to new employees at the beginning of employment. For the vast majority of industries, many employees who are working in the office or working remotely are equally productive.

What are employee rights in a hybrid work model?

Are more businesses shifting to a hybrid work model?

At the moment many employers are still trying to determine what they are going to do moving forward. Many companies have moved to a hybrid work model for employees to work remotely or in the office. Employees should remember that if they are asked to return to the office and refuse to do so, it is considered to be a resignation.

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