Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT - PART 2 - HIRING EMPLOYEES
ESA Section 10 – No charge for hiring or providing information
This section prohibits any person from charging a fee for providing employment or information about employment to any person seeking work.
10. (1) A person must not request, charge or receive, directly or indirectly, from a person seeking employment a payment for
(a) employing or obtaining employment for the person seeking employment, or
(b) providing information about employers seeking employees.
(2) A person does not contravene this section by requesting, charging or receiving payment for any form of advertisement from the person who placed the advertisement.
(3) A payment received by a person in contravention of this section is deemed to be wages owing and this Act applies to the recovery of the payment.
Employees do not have to pay to find employment. They cannot be charged by an employer for giving them a job, by an employment agency for helping to find them a job, or by anyone for information about possible employment opportunities.
An employer, an employment agency, or any other person must not ask or require a person looking for a job to pay for any services associated with finding a job, including:
- giving them a job;
- helping them to get a job with someone else;
- providing them with information about possible employment opportunities.
Services that are not associated with finding a job or providing information about jobs may be provided for a fee. For example, an employment agency may charge a fee for providing other services such as teaching interviewing skills or helping prepare resumes. The person looking for a job cannot be required to use these services.
In the course of her job search, Sandy is charged $35 to have an application for employment put on file with a company. This contravenes section 10.
Sam goes to an employment agency for assistance in helping him find a job. He asks if they can help him prepare a better resume. They say they can, but that they charge a fee. This is permissible under the Act. It would not be allowed if the Agency made it a condition of assisting Sam to find a job.
It is permissible for an advertising business to charge for the cost of advertisements for jobs, placed either by employers or persons seeking employment. This applies to any type of advertising regardless of the method. This may include newspapers, bulletin boards, or internet websites.
It is not permissible for employment agencies to charge a fee which they call "advertising" to a person seeking employment. An employment agency is not in the business of advertising, and is not permitted to charge a fee to a person seeking employment.
If a person makes a payment to anyone for giving them a job, or helping them to find a job, that payment is considered to be wages owing and the Act applies to recover the payment from the person who received it.
Employees working under a collective agreement
Under the provisions of s.3, parties to a collective agreement are prohibited from giving up the specific employment protection provided in s.10 (no charge for hiring or providing information). Employers, employees and unions may not negotiate terms and conditions that do not meet the standards set out in this section.
Under s.3(7) of the Act, where there is a collective agreement, the enforcement of matters relating to s.10 is through the grievance procedure, not through the enforcement provisions of the Act.
Related sections of the Act or Regulation
- s. 2 Licensing of Employment Agencies
- s. 3 Employment Agency Records
- s. 4 Cancellation or suspension of employment agency license