Know Your Rights!

Many employees don’t know their rights.  This puts you in a vulnerable position because if you don’t understand your rights, it is impossible for you to defend them.  While your rights will vary according to your region and your unique situation, here are some employment standards that will apply to most employees in Ontario:

Hours of Work:  There are limits to the number of hours an employee can be required to work.  In most cases, the limit is eight hours or the employee’s regular work day, and the weekly limit is 48 hours.

Overtime Pay:  For most employees, overtime begins once they have worked more than 44 hours in one work week.  Overtime pay is calculated on a weekly basis and is 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Your Pay:  The employer must establish a recurring pay period and and pay all wages on or before the pay day for that period.

Breaks:  An employee must not work for more than five hours in a row without getting a 30 minute break.  The employer is not required to provide a break if the employee has worked for less than five hours and the employer is not required to pay the employee for any breaks.

Minimum Wage:  Minimum wage for most employees is $10.25 an hour, and $9.60 an hour for students.

Public Holidays:  Most employees are entitled to public holidays off with pay.  If the employee agrees to work on the holiday, they may be entitled to the holiday pay plus premium pay for all hours worked.

Since employment standards will vary depending on your situation, it is a good idea to review them to determine what applies to your occupation.  These websites will provide more detailed information about employment standards in Canada and Ontario:

While most employers will respect your rights, some won’t.  When you are aware of your rights, it makes it a lot easier for you to defend them.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)
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