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Employment Law: Employees > Wage And Hour

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) is an important piece of labour and employment legislation that sets forth employment rules regarding hours, minimum wages, overtime pay and time off. While the ESA was intended to provide necessary safeguards to employees, many workers still find themselves the victims of illegal and unfair wage and hour violations.

If you believe your rights as an employee have been violated under the ESA, come speak with our lawyers. We can answer your questions, investigate your claim and take steps to help you pursue compensation for withheld wages and hours violations.

The Laws Regarding Hours Of Work, Breaks And Overtime

Whether you are a temporary, part-time or full-time worker, you have certain rights regarding hours of work, breaks, wages and overtime.

Hours Of Work
Employers cannot obligate employees to work more than eight hours in a day (or the hours of an established workday), or 48 hours in a week. If more time is required, the employee must agree to it in writing, and the employer may be required to seek approval from the Director of Employment Standards.

There are also rules regarding the number of hours workers must be accorded in a day and between shifts. In general, workers must have 11 consecutive hours off from work each day and at least eight hours off in between shifts. However, these rules may be different based on the industry, and on whether a worker is “on call” or engages in split shifts.

Wages And Overtime
For most employees, minimum wage is $11.25/hour. However, the minimum wage rate is lower for certain employees, including liquor servers, student employees and homeworkers. Overtime pay is one and a half times your normal hourly rate and is payable after 44 hours have been worked in a week, with some exceptions. Overtime pay is not available on a daily basis, only on a weekly basis.

Meal And Rest Breaks
Employees must not work more than five consecutive hours without having a 30-minute meal break. Eating breaks are typically unpaid and may be split into two 15-minute breaks. Employers are usually not required to provide coffee breaks, cigarette breaks or any other non-meal breaks, paid or unpaid.

Contact Our Law Firm

If you believe your rights as a worker have been violated, contact our firm. Our lawyers will help you obtain the denied wages you are entitled to and can also help you pursue compensation for other wage and hour violations. Call 613-701-0898 or complete our online contact form below to schedule a consultation. Our office is located in Ottawa, Ontario, and we serve clients throughout the Ottawa Valley.