If you work in a company regulated by the Province of Ontario, you are entitled to minimum standards under the provincial legislation Employment Standards Act, 2000. All provincially regulated companies are required by law to comply with these standards. If the employer fails to follow these standards, you can file a claim with the Ministry of Labour even when you are still working for that company. If you are reluctant to create difficult relationship with the company, you can file a claim with the Ministry anonymously. The Ministry by law is obligated to investigate all complaints including that are filed anonymously. However, some issues are difficult to investigate in this fashion and the Ministry may advise you whether or not your particular complaint can be investigated without identifying you. You can either give your consent or withdraw your complaint against the company.
Generally speaking, if you work over 44 hours/week, you are entitled to overtime pay at the rate of one and a half times your hourly rate. You are also entitled to overtime pay when you are paid a salary. The employer may pay more but cannot pay less. If you are a manager or a supervisor, you are exempted from overtime pay but the duties of manager or a supervisor have to be real and not just a glorified title. When in doubt, contact the Ministry or the writer for clarification.
You may sign an agreement with the employer to average hours worked. That is, you can agree to average hours worked over two weeks or three weeks or four weeks. As an example, if you sign an agreement to average hours worked over two weeks and you work 60 hours one week and 20 hours next week, the average over two weeks would be 40 hours and you would not be entitled to overtime pay while without such an agreement you will be entitled to overtime pay for 16 hours. Likewise, if you signed averaging over three weeks or four weeks, hours worked in three weeks or four weeks would be averaged. Such an agreement must have a starting date and ending date (maximum two years) and must be voluntary and requires Ministry’s approval. The agreement can be cancelled if both parties agree to do so. If you are pressured or forced to sign such an agreement, it is invalid and cannot be enforced and you must bring it to the attention of the Ministry.
Certain occupations are exempt from overtime provision of the Act while other occupations may have higher threshold.
This information is only provided to guide you about your entitlements under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and should not be considered as a legal advice.
This article is provided by Rajinder K. Batra, who is a retired Employment Standards Officer with the Ministry of Labour with 15 years experience in these matters.
If you have any questions regarding your employment, please contact the writer by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t have access to e-mail; you can fax your question at (905) 331-1805.