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 work week is 48 hours a week. But if your boss can show exceptional circumstances, the minister of labour can say it's okay to make you work longer hours and not give you a day off in a week.
If there's an emergency, such as an accident or essential work that needs to be done to equipment, your boss can make you work longer hours without the okay of the minister of labour. But a report must be filed within 15 days of the end of the month that you worked emergency hours.
Are there variations to the standard work week? You can work a compressed work week as long as the average weekly hours don't go over the standard 40 hours a week or the maximum 48 hours a week. Overtime kicks in after 40 hours a week.
Employers can also average the hours of work if the nature of the work requires an irregular distribution of hours. This allows hours of work to be averaged over a period of 2 or more weeks. The standard hours of work must be 40 times the number of weeks being averaged. Similarly, the maximum hours of work must be 48 times the number of weeks being averaged. The averaging period can only last as long as the time in which fluctuations of work hours occur.
Overtime rates apply after an average of 40 hours a week.
Do I get days off? Yes, one full day off a week, and it should be Sunday if possible. This does not apply to periods when hours of work are averaged.
Are all workers covered by hours of work and overtime rules? No. The list of exclusions includes: managers, superintendents, workers who carry out management duties, architects, dentists, engineers, lawyers and doctors.
There are also special hours of work regulations in some industries that exclude or vary the standards for certain classes of workers, such as: truck drivers, East Coast, West Coast and Great Lakes ship workers, come railway workers, broadcasting salespeople on commission and country grain elevator managers or agents.
How is overtime calculated? If you work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week you're entitled to overtime calculated at least at one and a half times your regular wage.
Can I refuse overtime? No. The law does not give workers this right.
What if I'm still not sure which rules apply to me? Find the regional federal labour program office nearest you at http://info.load otea.hrdc drhc.gc.ca/common/offices.shtml