Employment Standards in Canada

Employment Standards in Canada

If you have employees, you will need information on employment standards such as paid holidays, vacation leave, minimum wage, etc.

In Canada, Provincial Employment Standards Codes describes the minimum rights and obligations of employers and employees in a number of areas. These areas include rights and obligations related to payment of wages, hours of work and overtime pay, general holidays and general holiday pay, termination of employment and parental benefits.

In Canada, the Provincial Human Resources and Employment Office regulated all payroll information and The Employment Standard Act, which set minimum standards of wages and working conditions in most workplaces.

Through these laws, minimum standards of employment have been established for employers and employees, including payment of earnings, minimum wage, hours of work and rest periods, overtime and overtime pay, vacations and vacation pay, general holidays and holiday pay, maternity and parental leave and termination of employment.

Typically, the legislation applies to every employment contract, oral or written, for work or services performed both in and out of the relevant province provided that the work or services performed out of the province are a continuation of the work or services in the province.

Minimum Wages

The minimum wage is one of the basic labor standards in Canada. It sets the lowest wage rate that an employer can pay employees covered by law to perform their work

Hours of Work

The legislation provides that an employee in Canada shall not work more than 12 hours in a day and 44 hours in a week. Hours worked in excess of the scheduled daily hours, and/or in excess of 44 hours per week, are overtime hours.

Public Holidays

Under provincial law, employees are generally entitled to seven paid public holidays:

New Year’s Day
Good Friday
Victoria Day
Canada Day
Labour Day
Thanksgiving Day
And Christmas Day
Easter Monday and Civic Holidays are not included under federal or provincial laws. Under Federal law, Boxing Day and Remembrance Day are included in the statutory holidays.

Vacation Pay

Upon completion of each year of service, an employee is entitled to at least two weeks vacation with pay. The employer may determine when employees take a vacation, however, the employees are entitled to take a vacation within ten months of the end of his/her year and are entitled to a two-week period or two periods of one week each. In lieu of vacation, the employer shall pay the employee vacation pay equal to a least 4% of total wages for the year.

Employees who are exempt from vacations and vacation pay:

employees on a farm or a ranch
salespersons working mainly away from the employer’s premises who solicit orders for later delivery
professionals such as real estate brokers, and licensed insurance and securities salespersons
extras in a film or video production
employees covered by other Acts (academic staff)
municipal police officers
Maternity and Parental Leave – Maternity and parental leave are employee entitlements set out in the Employment Standards Code. The legislation entitles employees, who qualify, to a period of leave without pay at the end of which they must be reinstated in their old or equivalent job.

During maternity and parental leave, employees may be entitled to maternity and parental benefits under the federal Employment Insurance(EI) program. Parental leave may be taken by one parent or shared between two parents

Times for maternity and parental leave vary from province to province.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

An employer is prohibited from differentiating between male and female employees who perform substantially the same kind of work in the same establishment, the performance of which requires substantially the same skill, effort, and responsibility. In such circumstances, different rates of pay are prohibited, except where differences are attributable to a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a differential based on any factor other than sex.

Benefit Plan

In the event that an employer furnishes a benefit plan to its employees, the employer is prohibited from differentiating between employees or a class of employees or their beneficiaries if such differentiation is based on age, sex, or marital status.