Employees must be paid an amount equal to or greater than the applicable minimum wage. Minimum wages in Canadian jurisdictions range from $11.00 per hour to $14.00 per hour. Where employees are paid a salary rather than an hourly wage, the employer must nevertheless ensure that employees’ compensation is at least equal to the minimum wage in light of hours worked.
Maximum Working Week
Generally, the maximum daily and weekly figures are typically 8 hours per day and between 40 and 48 hours per week. In certain situations, these maximum hours of work may be exceeded, such as: where overtime is paid; where employees agree; or where there is an emergency situation. Specific provisions also exist in some jurisdictions, which permit employers to implement “compressed” four-day work weeks or “continental shifts” with 12-hour work-days.
When an employee works in excess of a certain number of hours overtime pay is typically time-and-one-half. Overtime entitlements apply to both salaried and hourly employees. However, most jurisdictions specifically exclude certain employees from this entitlement, such as managerial or supervisory employees and certain types of professionals.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
Occupational health and safety legislation exists in all jurisdictions and places an obligation on both employers and employees to minimize the risk of workplace accidents, through the exercise of “due diligence”. Legislation also provides employees with certain rights designed to promote workplace safety, including the right to be informed of hazards and the right to refuse work that they reasonably believe is dangerous. Finally, in many Canadian jurisdictions, there are laws that require that employers assess the risk of, and develop programs to deal with, violence and harassment in the workplace.
Complaints can be made against employers by contacting the appropriate government ministry depending on the jurisdiction they are in. The complaint process is designed to be easy and accessible for employees who wish to report a health and safety issue.