The Employment Standards Act (British Columbia)
prohibits an employer from withholding or deducting any part of
wages unless the employee has consented in writing. Problems
frequently arise when employment terminates and the employer seeks
to recover loans, advance payments (of wages or vacation pay) or
other debts from the employee by way of deductions from the final
Watch out for
poorly documented loan agreements or advances;
employees taking vacation before it is fully earned;
adjustments to commission earnings where the amount drawn
exceeds the amount earned; and
For any loan or advance, obtain a signed consent from the
sets out the amount and purpose of the loan or advance, and
refers to any overpayment as an advance;
sets out the amount of the deduction and its frequency, or any
triggering event for repayment;
includes an acceleration provision by which the balance comes
due upon termination of employment for any reason; and
contains an authorization to deduct the balance from any wages
(including any vacation pay and pay in lieu of notice of
If an employer permits vacation to be taken in advance of being
earned, the employee should provide a written acknowledgement and
authorization for deduction of such amounts from wages.
Note that even with consent, employers may not deduct
money from wages to offset "business costs", such as
costs to repair or replace equipment or inventory that an employee
damages or loses, as well as samples, sales kits or demonstration
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
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