Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Nov. 17, 2017

Most of the Employment standards are being met voluntarily. I am an employer. I own a small independent pharmacy. I pay my staff for 4% to 8% vacation pay depending on seniority. They are paid statutory holidays and are paid overtime. My non-pharmacist staff are given a 1/2 hour lunch and 2 fifteen minute breaks. The only issue is my staff pharmacists do not get lunch and breaks. As compensation, they are paid a full 8 hours for their shift. My assistants and cashiers are only paid 7 & 1/2 hours for an 8 hour shift as per employment standards. As well, the pharmacists are given much latitude during their shift to eat and snack and sit and use their cell phones to make personal calls and access the internet for personal use during their shift as long as it doesn't interfere with work flow and delay customer service. This has worked well. If employment standards were to be enforced for pharmacists, the pharmacy would have to close during their lunch and break times as per pharmacy regulations. Busy pharmacies may have overlapping pharmacists and or the owner is on the premises to allow this. But we are a small independent with 1 pharmacist on the premises at any particular time. We don't have the work volume to justify overlapping pharmacists or require 2 pharmacists to be on shift at the same time.

Proposal: 1. Amend the pharmacy regulations to allow the pharmacy to remain open during the pharmacist lunch breaks and ask the patient to come back later so that we can still hand out refills and intake prescriptions. 2. Allow a pharmacist of opt out of the lunch break component of the employment standards by legally signing a simple employment contract that permits the pharmacist to continue to work without a break for a straight 8 or 12 hour shift and be remunerated accordingly. The other components of the employment standards act can still be made compulsory. I don't think they are even an issue as most pharmacy owners follow them voluntarily just out of a sense of decency.

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