Weekly Hours and Overtime For many workers in Canada, there's no such thing as a 40-hour week.
- One in five full-time workers regularly put in more than 40 hours a week.
- One in ten regularly worked 50 hours or more.
That's a lot of time on the job. But whether it's 20, 30, 40 or 50 hours you spend at work each week, it's important to know what the law says about your rights. What's a regular work week? Are there limits to how many hours you can be asked to work? When does overtime kick in? How is it calculated? What about meal breaks and days off?
The answers vary. For example, if you're a worker in British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Québec, Saskatchewan or Yukon, or are covered by federal employment law, the regular work week is 40 hours a week. But in New Brunswick, there's no standard work week-and no limits to how long you can be required to work. The other provinces fall somewhere in between.
Are all workers covered? No. There are often long lists of partial and full exceptions to the rules, and special provisions for some jobs. Part-timers are included, with some exceptions.
To find out more about hours of work and overtime, click on the provincial/territorial or federal tab that applies to you. If you're not sure whether your job falls under provincial, territorial or federal law, read Which law covers you.
If you belong to a union, check your contract. It likely provides better protection than the minimum rights the law gives you. For example, a 40-hour work week or less is a fairly common provision in union contracts. And 24 percent of unionized workers have a clause in their contract that limits the amount of overtime they can be asked to work.