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Terms and definitions

Minimum wage

Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer can pay an employee. There is a general minimum wage that applies to most employees. There are also specific minimum wage rates for students, hunting and fishing guides, wilderness guides and homeworkers.

Learn more about minimum wage.

Hours of work

The Employment Standards Act sets limits on hours of work for most employees. This includes limits on daily and weekly hours of work, hours free from work and eating periods.

Daily rest period

A daily rest period is the time an employee is free from work each day. Most employees must receive 11 consecutive hours off of work each day.

Time off between shifts

Time off between shifts is the time an employee is free from work between work shifts. Most employees must receive at least eight hours off work between shifts, unless the total time worked on both shifts is less than 13 hours. An employer and employee can also agree in writing that the employee will receive less than eight hours off work between shifts.

Weekly/bi-weekly rest periods

Weekly/bi-weekly rest periods are the time an employee is free from work each week or every two weeks. Most employees must receive at least 24 consecutive hours off work in each week, or 48 consecutive hours off work in every two week period.

Eating periods

An eating period is the time when an employee is free from work during a work day or shift to eat or rest. Most employees must take a 30 minute eating period after working five hours.

Overtime

Overtime is time worked by an employee beyond the weekly limit on regular hours of work. Most employees who work overtime must be paid overtime pay for each hour of overtime worked.

Leaves of absence

Most employees are entitled to several job-protected leaves of absence. Employees cannot be punished for asking for or taking these leaves of absence.

Public holidays

Public holidays are holidays that most employees can take off work and be paid public holiday pay. Employees can also choose to work on a public holiday and take a substitute day off or be paid premium pay.

Vacation with pay

Vacation with pay is the time an employee can take off work and be paid vacation pay. Most employees are entitled to two weeks of vacation every 12 months and vacation pay of 4% of their wages, or three weeks of vacation every 12 months and vacation pay of 6% of their wages if they have been employed by the same employer for five years or more.

Notice of termination/termination pay

Notice of termination is the amount of notice that an employer must give an employee before the employee’s employment ends. Termination pay is the amount of pay that an employer must give an employee before the employee’s employment ends. Most employees must receive either notice of termination or termination pay.

Severance pay

Severance pay is the amount of pay that an employer must give a long-term employee to make up for the employee’s job loss. Employees are entitled to severance pay if they have worked for their employer for more than five years and the employer either has a payroll of $2.5 million or ended the employment of 50 or more employees within six months.

Updated: May 31, 2022
Published: November 27, 2017