VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – BC’s jobs minister says animators being forced into unpaid overtime at local studios should come forward if that’s happening.
This comes two weeks after our story in which a former employee of Nitrogen Studios claimed to NEWS 1130 that she was asked to work O.T. without pay while working at that studio and others.
Under the employment standards act, animators can be classified as high tech workers, meaning they can be compelled to work unpaid overtime — something NEWS 1130 has been told is happening at a number of Vancouver-area studios.
“Employers are expected to pay their employees for the hours that they work in British Columbia,” says jobs minister Shirley Bond. “That is part of the Employment Standards Act. There are some sectors, where there’s flexibility around the hours that are worked and when they’re worked. But make no mistake about it, employers are required to pay their employees properly and for overtime work in this province.
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“If anyone is experiencing a situation… if there are circumstances where employees find themselves in those positions, they need to contact the Employment Standards Branch and they are required to investigate every complaint that’s made. So, yes, we do build flexibility into some sectors. As you can imagine, the work style, the hours, those kinds of things, there does need to be some flexibility. But there is no flexibility in terms of how employees are paid in the province.”
NEWS 1130 asked Bond if she’s considering changing the act to protect animators.
“The Employment Standards Act lays out clearly what the expectations of employers are in this province,” says Bond. “If there’s an employer that is not following the requirements, an employee has the right to complain. That complaint will be investigated. Employers need to pay for the hours that employees work in the province.”
Last week, Unifor, the country’s largest private sector union, filed a complaint to the Employment Standards Branch claiming animators at Nitrogen Studios were being forced to work unpaid overtime.