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Weekly Hours and Overtime

What is the regular work week?

It's 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.

(Note: If you belong to a union, check your collective agreement. You might have better hours of work and overtime provisions than the minimum protections found in the law.)

Are there limits to how long my boss can make me work?

The maximum is 44 hours a week, unless you consent to more. The daily maximum is 12 hours a day.

Are there any variations to the standard work week?

  • The director of the Labour Standards Branch can authorize a compressed work week of 10-hour days over a four-day period. Overtime then kicks in if you work or are at the disposal of your employer for more than 10 hours a day or 40 hours a week.
  • There's also a provision for authorized averaging of working hours over any period. The average number of hours worked can't be more than 8 hours in a day or 40 a week during the averaging period (unless overtime is paid).

In both cases, these changes can be made without the director's approval if you work in a unionized workplace, provided the employer gets the union's agreement, and overtime is paid for any extra hours.

Do I get time off?

You're entitled to:
  • 8 hours off every 24-hour period.
  • A day a week if you work 20 hours or more a week.
  • If your workplace has more than 10 employees, then everyone who works more than 20 hours a week must get 2 days off in a row, and one of these days should be Sunday where possible.

Am I entitled to a meal break?

You are entitled to an unpaid ½-hour break within every 5 hours of working in a row.  Your employer must allow you to take breaks more frequently if you have a medical reason requiring it. Employers don't have to provide coffee breaks, but if they do the break must be paid and included in the number of hours worked.  In the case of an emergency or if the majority of employees agree, employees may forgo a break or change the break time. 

If your employer is not required to give you a meal break after 5 hours of working, you must be able to eat while working.

Are there any exceptions/exclusions to hours of work?

Yes. Different hours of work rules apply to the following groups:

  • Oil truck drivers
    Work hours are recorded for one year. Any hours over 40-after taking into account work weeks that are less than 40 hours-are paid at time and a half on July 1 every year
  • Design, construction, repair or maintenance of highways
    Overtime payable after 100 hours worked in a period of two weeks in a row
  • Live-in caregivers and live-in domestics
    Two days off in a row in every seven days at a mutually-agreed to time.
  • Hotel, restaurant, educational institution, hospital or nursing home workers
    Hours of work must be confined within 12 hours in any one day
  • City newspaper editorial writers, reporters and advertising salespeople
    Overtime payable after 80 hours worked in a period of two weeks in a row

How is overtime calculated?

After 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week, overtime is payable at a rate of 1.5 times your regular wage.

Can I refuse overtime?

Your boss can't make you work more than 44 hours a week without your consent.  You cannot be disciplined for refusing overtime work.

Are any workers excluded from hours of work and overtime?

Yes. Farmworkers, ranchworkers or workers in market gardening are excluded from all provisions of the employment standards laws. So are those working in family-run businesses that only employee family members, and sitters–people who provide in-home care or supervision for those who can't live independently, such as children, and disabled or elderly people.

Overtime provisions don't apply to management or professional employees, people working north of the 62nd township (except those working in La Ronge, Creighton or Uranium City, or within a 10 km radius of La Ronge and Creighton) and other designated employees.

Special overtime rules apply to some workers, including ambulance attendants, fire fighters, oil truck drivers, highway construction workers and some city newspaper workers.

What if I'm still not sure which rules apply to me?

Call Labour Standards at 1-800-667-1783 for more information about these special rules.


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