Money Tim Hortons heirs cut paid breaks and worker benefits after minimum wage hike, employees say

21:25  03 january  2018
21:25  03 january  2018 Source:

Tim Hortons franchisees bully employees: Wynne

  Tim Hortons franchisees bully employees: Wynne TORONTO - The premier of Ontario is accusing the children of Tim Hortons' billionaire co-founder of bullying their employees by reducing their benefits in response to the province's increased minimum wage. In a letter to workers at two Tim Hortons restaurants in Cobourg, Ont., Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri Horton-Joyce said that as of Jan. 1, staff would no longer be entitled to paid breaks, and would have to pay a portion of the costs for dental and health benefits to offset the $2.40 jump in the hourly minimum wage. Premier Kathleen Wynne says if Joyce Jr. wants to challenge the Ontario government policy, he should come directly to her and not take it out on his workers.

Employees at a Tim Hortons franchise owned by the children of the chain's founders say they're losing paid breaks and other benefits in Minimum wage hikes could cost Canada's economy 60,000 jobs by 2019 read comments video. Tim Hortons heirs cut paid breaks and worker

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Tim Hortons heirs cut paid breaks and worker benefits after minimum wage hike, employees say© Asghar Khan/Gulf News Tim Hortons heirs cut paid breaks and worker benefits after minimum wage hike, employees say

Employees at an Ontario Tim Hortons owned by the children of the chain's founders say they have been told to sign a document acknowledging they are losing paid breaks, paid benefits, and other incentives as a result of the province's minimum wage hike.

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"I feel that we are getting the raw end of the stick." said one front line employee who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of losing their job.

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The franchise is located in Cobourg, Ont., about 115 kilometres east of Toronto. The owners are Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce, the son and daughter of the chain's co-founders, Ron Joyce, and the late Tim Horton. Employees say they are married.

In the document, copies of which were obtained by CBC News, Ron Joyce Jr. Enterprises wrote:

"Breaks will no longer be paid. A 9 hour shift will be paid for 8 hours and 20 minutes."

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"These changes are due to the increase of wages to $14.00 minimum wage on January 1, 2018, then $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019, as well as the lack of assistance and financial help from our Head Office and from the Government."

The letter is signed "Sincerely, Jeri, Ron and Lisa."

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Non-union employees in Ontario are covered by the Employment Standards Act .

The act doesn't require employers to give employees coffee breaks or any other kind of break other than eating periods.

Meal breaks are unpaid unless the employee's employment contract requires payment.

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"Organizations are finding ways to transition to a higher minimum wage. We are encouraging them to work together to share best practices and innovations," said a spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of Labour in an email to CBC News.

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"The Ministry of Labour is dedicated to ensuring Ontario workers are protected and know their rights under the Employment Standards Act."

Besides losing paid breaks, the document states workers with more than five years of service will have to pay 50 per cent of the cost of benefits, and employees with between six months and five years service will have to pay 75 per cent.

An employee with more than five years service told CBC news prior to this their benefits were covered 100 per cent by the company.

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"That was a big benefit for the people who work at Tim Hortons, because it's not a great paying job," said the employee, who said they were making $13 an hour prior to the minimum wage hike.

"The benefits are what kept me there. Now you are going to make me pay that.

"I don't understand why you can take it away. Sounds like you are penalizing your staff because the government is trying to help your staff,"  they said.

Employees are also losing incentives for working on their birthday and for working six months without taking a sick day.

By the numbers: How much will the minimum wage hike cost Tim Hortons?

  By the numbers: How much will the minimum wage hike cost Tim Hortons? The Great White North Franchisee Association says the minimum wage increase will cost the average Tim Hortons franchise $243,889.10 a year Here’s a closer look at the numbers provided by the association, which says on its website it represents 50 per cent of the Tim Hortons chain in Canada. The figure is based on a minimum wage increase of $2.40 an hour The calculation assumes the $2.40 increase will be applied to every worker’s salary. Only employees who were making the previous minimum wage, $11.60 an hour, are legally entitled to the new rate, $14. Some businesses have said the higher rate will inflate their entire payroll because they want to maintain pay differentials between newer hires and more senior staff. The $2.40 rate is bumped up to $3.35 an hour when other costs are factored in. GWNFA says this figure includes Canadian Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Employee Health tax, workers’ compensation premiums, training costs, sick leave, and increased vacation pay. Increased vacation pay introduced by Bill 148 will only impact workers who have been with a company for five years or more. They will now be entitled to three weeks leave. Average number of employees at a Tim Hortons store: 35 Average increased cost for one full-time employee: $6,968.26 Divided by the hourly cost increase (of $3.35) per employee and a 52-week year, this figure suggests Tim Hortons employees work a 40-hour week.

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"We did receive this letter. I have not signed it and I still have it." said another front line employee who also asked to remain anonymous.

"My shift has 15-year-olds, and I feel they should be taking the letter home to their parents to read before they sign anything," they said.

Wage hike but worse off?

Another employee said that with unpaid breaks and having to pay 50 per cent of the cost of benefits, their biweekly paycheck will actually be $51 dollars lower than it was before the minimum wage hike.

"I've worked for the company for a very long time, and I was very upset. I wasn't marching down the street asking for this pay raise. Now I'm worse off," they said.

James Pickersgill, a Cobourg resident whose friend's spouse works at one of the Cobourg locations, posted a picture of the document on his Facebook page. It was shared more than 600 times in less than 24 hours.

"Cobourg's a small place. Word of mouth goes mental. People are talking about it wildly." said Pickersgill.

He said some people are pointing to this situation as a reason why the minimum wage should not have gone up, because it forces small businesses into difficult decisions. But a far greater number of people are outraged, he said.

No comment

"People are talking about boycotting their stores, and saying 'I'll go to another [Tim Hortons], but I won't go to that one,'" said Pickersgill.

Employees say the owners of the franchises are at their winter home in Florida.

A woman who answered the phone at the Tim Hortons location on Division Street in Cobourg who said she was the manager told CBC News she had no comment.

In an email to CBC News, Tim Hortons corporate media relations said:

"Almost all of our restaurants in Canada are independently owned and operated by small business Owners who are responsible for handling all employment matters, including all policies for benefits and wages, for their restaurants."

"Restaurant Owners are expected to comply with all applicable laws and regulations within their jurisdiction."

Tims customers fight cutbacks at rallies .
TORONTO - Protesters who rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Ontario on Wednesday roasted some franchisees for slashing workers' benefits and breaks in an effort to compensate for the province's minimum wage hike, but many said their gripes would not derail their daily coffee runs. Those who gathered said they were worried staff would be negatively impacted if they boycotted to spite the small handful of franchisees — not necessarily the 16 locations that were targeted — who demanded workers cover a larger share of their dental and health-care benefits and take unpaid breaks to offset the 20 per cent raise to $14 an hour.

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