Can we change pay periods for employees from biweekly to monthly?

The answer depends on the jurisdiction: Some, like Alberta and Ontario allow it but others – like B.C., Manitoba and New Brunswick – don’t
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 03/10/2014

Question: Our payroll department has been informed that our company is considering switching from a biweekly payroll to a monthly payroll. Is this allowed under employment/labour standards?

Answer: The answer depends on the jurisdiction of employment since employment/labour standards are governed by provincial/territorial employment/labour standards laws and by the Canada Labour Code for federally regulated employers and employees.

Canada Labour Code: Yes, since the Code does not specify a time period for paydays other than requiring that employers pay employees on a regularly established payday. Keep in mind that any wages and other amounts owing to an employee must be paid within 30 days from the time the employee becomes entitled to them.

Alberta: Yes. The Employment Standards Code requires employers to have regular pay periods for employees that are not more than one work month apart. The Code defines a "work month" as either a calendar month or a time period the employer establishes on a consistent basis from a time on a specific day in one month to the identical time on the same day in the next month. When making the change, it is important to note employers must pay employees wages, overtime pay and any statutory holiday pay earned in the pay period within 10 consecutive days after the end of each pay period.

British Columbia: No. Pay periods cannot be any less frequent than semi-monthly.

Manitoba: No. Pay periods cannot be any less frequent than semi-monthly.

New Brunswick: No. Pay periods must occur at least every 16 days.

Newfoundland and Labrador: No. Pay periods must occur at least semi-monthly.

Northwest Territories: Yes. The Employment Standards Act requires pay periods occur at least monthly, unless the Employment Standards Officer approves a longer period. It is important to keep in mind that if the change is being made, employers must pay wages earned in the pay period within 10 days of the end of each pay period.

Nova Scotia: No. Pay periods must occur at least semi-monthly.

Nunavut: Yes. The Labour Standards Act requires that pay periods occur at least monthly, unless the Labour Standards Officer approves a longer period. It is important to keep in mind that if making the change, employers must pay wages earned in the pay period within 10 days of the end of each pay period.

Ontario: Yes, because the Employment Standards Act, 2000 does not specify a time period for paying wages other than requiring that employers establish a "recurring pay period and a recurring pay day."

Prince Edward Island: No. Employers must pay regular wages at least every 16 days.

Quebec: Employers may establish monthly pay periods for senior managers and contract workers. For other workers, pay periods must occur at least every 16 days. Please note employers in Quebec may pay new employees their first pay within one month after they begin employment.

Saskatchewan: Not currently. Pay periods must occur at least semi-monthly or at the end of every 14-day period. It is important to note, though, that last year the province passed a new Saskatchewan Employment Act. It is not yet in force. Once it is, it will allow employers to pay employees at least monthly, semi-monthly or every 14 days. It would also stipulate that employers will only be allowed to set up a monthly pay period for employees whose salary is expressed as a monthly wage or a wage for a period exceeding a month.

Yukon: No. Pay periods must occur at least every 16 consecutive calendar days.

Note: In unionized workplaces, employers should also consult the terms of the collective agreement in force before changing pay period type.

Question: We have recently switched from using paper Records of Employment (ROEs) to electronic ROEs. Are we still required to keep for our records printed copies of ROEs that we have issued?

Answer:
Employers who use electronic ROEs do not have to store paper copies of the electronic ROEs that they have issued. Keep payroll records related to the electronic ROEs for six years after the year to which the records relate. For paper ROEs that you have issued, you must keep the employer copy (Part 3) for six years after the year to which the information on the paper ROE relates.

Annie Chong is the manager of the payroll consulting group at Carswell, a Thomson Reuters business. She can be reached at

annie.chong@thomsonsreuters.com

or (416) 298-5085. See www.carswell.com.