should serve as an attractive trait for workers looking for guaran-teed
This move would impact more than projects being completed
“We have a limited work season, so instead of being limited to a
six-and-one schedule or a 12-and-two schedule to take better ad-vantage
of the peak construction season, employers and their em-ployees
are able to work longer stretches at a time so that their
downtime happens when the weather is affecting their ability to
work,” said Mary Panteluk, a SHCA board member.
“It’s very possible to have 100 rain days in a season, which means
you’re always stopping and starting operations,” said Panteluk.
“With that, there’s generally higher turnover when you’re experienc-ing
those high volumes of rain. So, if you’re able to provide some
flexibility to plan your schedules for longer shifts on (the job), then
people know that when the weather is cooperating they can work
and they’ll be able to make hay when the sun is shining.”
Unpredictable stormy weather has in the past chased capable
workers all over the province – and sometimes out of the province
– in search of steady work. Rained out work sites means there’s no
money to be made.
A high turnover rate could be curtailed when workers are able
to see their schedule a few months into the future, as opposed to a
Extending a work schedule, Panteluk believes, would be benefi-cial
to both employer and employees. Flexibility for the employer
allows for unforeseen circumstances like stormy weather, design de-lays
or the moving of utilities. They’re also able to map out the po-tential
for time off due to worker fatigue.
Site Preparation and Development ❙ Sub-divisions ❙ Road Building
Surface Water Drainage and Retention Ponds ❙ Sewer and Water
Wastewater Stabilization Pond Construction and Repairs
Granular Supply ❙ Custom Hauling ❙ Snow Removal
Peak earning time for road construction employees is spring,
summer and fall. It’s generally a six- to eight-month window to earn
their salary for the calendar year. Under the new regulation, work-ers
would be able to maximize the hours on the job during the peak
operating season instead of being constrained by a formal schedule
or the current regulations.
It also would allow employees to plan their work schedules for
Another key issue affecting industry workers is the number of
hours they’re allowed to work in a week – it currently stands at 44
hours, which can be extended with a legal permit.
SHCA met with officials within the Ministry of Labour and has re-quested
that weekly allotment be bumped up to 16 hours a day for
workers. Overtime pay would take effect after 12 hours.
“Our employees really want this to go through,” said Allan Barilla,
chairman of the SHCA board. “These guys want and need to work 12
to 14 hours a day. This is their peak earning time.”
Barilla also says that a lot of highway construction jobs take work-ers
out of town for 10 or 11 days or more at a time, which means time
in a hotel and living out of a duffel bag. He said employees are not
as receptive to the idea of working that many days away from their
homes and their families if they’re only working eight hours a day.
“First of all, they’re not getting the money they want. And, second-ly,
why would you want to work away from home for eight hours a
day when you can get a job in town for that?” he said.
For SHCA, the timing of this scheduling change comes at a time
when neighbouring Alberta and the Alberta Roadbuilders and
Heavy Construction Association (ARHCA) is revising its policies
and regulating its scheduling/hours moving forward.
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22 Think BIG | Quarter 3 2017 | saskheavy.ca