The Top 10 Things Employers Have To Provide Their Employees According To Ontario Labour Laws


Whether you're a young employee just entering the work force or you're a seasoned professional with years of experience, there are many things that your employer must provide you with on an on-going basis. Some might seem more important than others, though making sure that your rights are being respected throughout your career path is important as well. As an employer if you aren't aware that the things mentioned below are a necessity there's no better time than the present to correct any errors in your day to day procedures to ensure your staff are taken care of according to the Ontario Labour Laws to avoid your business from getting into any hot water.

There is a maximum as to hours worked without breaks

No matter the industry or the title on your business card, there are daily and weekly limits as to how many hours an employee must work, though there are a few exceptions if the right conditions are met. In general, though, an employee must not work more than 5 consecutive hours without a 30-minute meal break.

Overtime hours must be paid in addition to regular pay

When an employee's hours within a week long work period exceed 44 hours, overtime must be paid, for the hours in excess of 44 hours per week for most jobs. Though there are some exceptions to the rule, the status quo in terms of overtime pay is that the excess hours are paid at a rate that is at least 1.5 times the employee's regular wage.

Most employees are entitled to minimum wage

In Ontario there is a minimum wage that must be paid to all employees, however, depending on the industry that you work in, there are a few variables. For example the minimum wage of an adult working as a receptionist would be the general minimum wage being $11.25 per hour. Whereas a student doing the same job, would be given student minimum wage being $10.25 per hour. Restaurant workers also have a different minimum wage as they receive tips and gratuities from their guests. As there are variables in terms of which minimum wage rate must be paid for your business specifically, it is important for you to stay up to date on the regulations of the current labour laws and wage outline.

You have to have a regular pay day & pay period

As an employee, you have to know when you are going to be compensated for the work that you do and knowing when you will see your paycheck is important to your personal cash flow. As an employer, you must clearly state your employees regular pay period and rate, as well as making sure that they are given a paycheck in hand on the dates outlined or that the wages are deposited into their accounts. In addition to ensuring pay is given you also have to provide your employees with a wage statement, outlining their pay period dates, their gross earnings, deductions etc.

Vacation time needs to be paid

Every full-time employee earns at least 2 weeks of paid vacation each calendar year and though there are some parameters that vary in terms of when the employee is paid out their vacation, the percentage paid is always at least 4% of their earnings. As an employer, you can hold onto the initial year's worth of vacation pay until the employee has worked for you for an entire fiscal so that the employee has accrued the entire 2 weeks worth of pay ahead of their vacation or you can offer to pay them their weekly amount of vacation pay for each pay period. However you decide to pay out the vacation owed, the amount of vacation pay is always to be set aside and paid out to the employee upon request, and must be clearly stated on each wage statement. Part-time employees are also paid vacation pay at a rate of 4% of their regular earnings, and must be paid out similarly to full-time employees.

Employees are entitled to holiday pay

In Ontario there are 9 holidays that are paid holidays, that most employees are entitled to pay for. These days are important to all staff in terms of being given the time off to spend with friends and family. Depend on your business, however, some employees may be asked to work these days, and if they do work these holidays, are entitled to their holiday pay plus time and a half for the hours worked that day.

Employees are entitled to leaves of absence

Within the Ontario Labour Laws you will find that it is clearly stated that there are a number of job-protected, unpaid leaves of absence that employees are able to take without fear of being let go while they are unable to work. A few to note would be pregnancy, parental, family caregiver and personal emergency leave. Even though these types of leaves can be disruptive to the day to day operations of a business, they must be allowed by the employer in accordance with Ontario Labour Laws.

If terminated, notice must be given

As an employer if you decide to terminate an employee, you must give advance notice to the employee and may be required to pay that employee termination or severance pay if the notice is not given in advance of the date terminated.

Uniform deductions may or may not be deducted from pay

As an employer if you have a specific uniform for your employees to wear as a condition of their employment, you must ask your employees to agree to have the cost deducted from their wages in writing, while also stating the exact amount that will be deducted. If you have not obtained written consent from the employee to deduct the cost, you are not allowed to deduct it from their wages.

Employees have a right to know

As an employer, you must keep your employees up to date with access to information in regards to the current labour laws, safety information and emergency protocols. As an employee, you have a right to ask for these materials if they are not provided to you. You also have the right to learn more about your rights as an employee or as an employer and can inquire about the Ontario Labour Laws and compliance by contacting the Employment Standards Information Centre.

Employment Standards Information Centre 416-326-7160 (Greater Toronto Area) 1-800-531-5551 (Toll-free Canada-wide)

Navigating labour laws, payroll and accounting systems can be time consuming and confusing with repercussions that can have a larger impact on your business than you might think. If you have any questions about any of the items mentioned above to ensure that you are compliant with the necessary labour laws give us a call at 705-728-6469. We're happy to assist you with your accounting needs while also helping direct you to the right areas to learn more about your obligations as an employer.

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