British Columbia

Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

Maximum Hours of Work Before Overtime Applies

The standard hours of work of an employee are not more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. This does not apply for the purposes of an employee who is working under an averaging agreement.

 

Minimum Hours

The employer must pay the employee shows up for work for a minimum of 2 hours at the regular wage whether or not the employee starts work unless the employee is unfit to work or fails to comply with the Regulations.

 

Averaging Agreement

A work schedule in an agreement must not provide for more than the following hours of work for the employee:

      • 40 hours, if the agreement specifies a 1-week period;
      • An average of 40 hours per week, if the agreement specifies more than a 1-week period.

 

An employer who requires an employee to work more than 12 hours a day, at any time during the period specified in the agreement, must pay the employee double the employee’s regular wage for the time over 12 hours. An employer who requires, an employee to work more than an average of 40 hours a week within the period specified in the agreement must pay the employee 1 1/2 times the employee’s regular wage for the time over 40 hours. An employer who requires, an employee to work more than the hours scheduled for a day during the period of the agreement must pay the employee:

 

      • 1 1/2 times the employee’s regular wage for, if fewer than 8 hours were scheduled for that day, any time worked over 8 hours, or if 8 or more hours were scheduled for that day, any time worked over the number of hours scheduled, and
      • Double the employee’s regular wage for any time worked over 12 hours that day.

Employment Standards Act, § 33-35 & 37.

Overtime

An employer must pay employees overtime wages if the employer requires, or directly or indirectly allows, employees to work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. An employer must pay an employee who works over 8 hours a day:

      • 1 1/2 times the employee’s regular wage for the time over 8 hours, and
      • Double the employee’s regular wage for any time over 12 hours.

An employer must pay an employee who works over 40 hours a week, and is not working under an averaging agreement, 1 1/2 times the employee’s regular wage for the time over 40 hours. Only the first 8 hours worked by an employee in each day are counted, no matter how long the employee works on any day of the week. Employment Standards Act, § 35 & 40.

Breaks

An employer must either ensure that an employee has at least 32 consecutive hours free from work each week or pay an employee 1 1/2 times the regular wage for time worked by the employee during the 32-hour period the employee would otherwise be entitled to have free from work. An employer must ensure that each employee has at least 8 consecutive hours free from work between each shift worked. Employment Standards Act, § 36.

Public Holidays

Paid holidays recognized by the British Columbia Province are:

      • New Year’s Day
      • Family Day (second Monday of February)
      • Good Friday
      • Easter Monday
      • Victoria Day
      • Canada Day
      • B.C. Day
      • Labour Day
      • Thanksgiving Day
      • Remembrance Day
      • Christmas Day
      • Boxing Day

Holiday Pay

An employee who is given a day off on a statutory holiday or is given a day off instead of the statutory holiday must be paid an amount equal to at least an average day’s pay An employee who works on a statutory holiday must be paid for that day:

        • 1 1/2 times the employee’s regular wage for the time worked up to 12 hours,
        • Double the employee’s regular wage for any time worked over 12 hours, and
        • An average day’s pay, as determined using the formula (amount paid ÷ days worked).

Employment Standards Act, § 45 – 48.

Annual Leave

An employer must give an employee an annual vacation of:

      • At least 2 weeks, after 12 consecutive months of employment, or
      • At least 3 weeks, after 5 consecutive years of employment.

An employer must ensure an employee takes an annual vacation within 12 months after completing the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation. An employer must allow an employee who is entitled to an annual vacation to take it in periods of one or more weeks.

 

Vacation Pay

An employer must pay an employee the following amount of vacation pay:

        • After 5 calendar days of employment, at least 4% of the employee’s total wages during the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation pay;
        • After 5 consecutive years of employment, at least 6% of the employee’s total wages during the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation pay.

Vacation pay must be paid to an employee:

        • At least 7 days before the beginning of the employee’s annual vacation, or
        • On the employee’s scheduled paydays, if agreed in writing by the employer and the employee or provided by the collective agreement.

Vacation pay an employee is entitled to when the employment terminates must be paid to the employee at the time set for paying wages. Employment Standards Act, § 57-58.

 

Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage as of June 1, 2018 is $12.65 an hour. Employment Standards Regulation § 15.

Meal Breaks

An employer must ensure that no employee works more than 5 consecutive hours without a meal break and that each meal break lasts at least a 1/2 hour. Employment Standards Act, § 32. 

Special Leave

Maternity Leave

A pregnant employee is entitled to up to 17 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, which must be taken during the period that begins no earlier than 13 weeks before the expected birth date. An employee who requests leave after giving birth to a child is entitled to up to 17 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, which must be taken during the period that begins on the date of the birth and ends no later than 17 weeks after that date.

 

An employee who requests leave after the termination of the pregnancy is entitled to up to 6 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, which must be taken during the period that begins on the date of the termination of the pregnancy and ends no later than 6 weeks after that date. An employee who requests leave is entitled to up to 6 additional consecutive if unable to return to work after termination of pregnancy.

 

A request for leave must be given in writing to the employer and should be given to the employer at least 4 weeks before the day the employee proposes to begin the leave, and if required by the employer should be accompanied with a medical certificate from a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner. Employment Standards Act, § 50.

Parental Leave

An employee is entitled to parental leave of up to 61 additional consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave immediately after their pregnancy leave. Non-birth parents and adopting parents are entitled to up to 62 consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave, which must begin within 78 weeks after the birth of the child or after the child is placed with the parent (in the case of adoption).

 

If the child has a physical, psychological or emotional condition requiring an additional period of parental care, an employee who requests leave is entitled to up to an additional 5 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, beginning immediately after the end of the leave.

A request for leave must be given in writing to the employer and should be given to the employer at least 4 weeks before the employee proposes to begin the leave, and if required by the employer, be accompanied by a medical practitioner’s or nurse practitioner’s certificate or other evidence of the employee’s entitlement to leave. An employee’s combined entitlement to maternity and parental leave is limited to 78 weeks plus any additional leave the employee is entitled to for a child who has a physical, psychological or emotional condition requiring an additional period of parental care. Employment Standards Act, § 51. 

Family Responsibility Leave

An employee is entitled to up to 5 days of unpaid leave during each employment year to meet responsibilities related to the care, health or education of a child in the employee’s care, or the care or health of any other member of the employee’s immediate family.

Employment Standards Act, § 52.

Compassionate Care Leave

An employee is entitled to up to 27 weeks of unpaid leave to provide care or support to a family member if a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner issues a certificate stating that the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. The employee must give the employer a copy of the certificate as soon as practicable. Compassionate care leave ends on the last day of the week in which the earlier of the following occurs:

      • The family member dies;
      • The expiration of 52 weeks from the date the leave began.

Leave taken must be taken in units of one or more weeks. In case the family member does not die within the period of leave given the employee can take a further leave after obtaining and submitting a new medical certificate. Employment Standards Act, § 52.1.

Reservist Leave

An employee who is a reservist and who requests leave is entitled to unpaid leave, for the prescribed period or, if no period is prescribed, for as long the employee is deployed by the Canadian Forces for any kind of operation engagement inside or outside Canada. A request for leave must be given in writing to the employer or applied at least 4 weeks before the employee proposes to begin the leave. Employment Standards Act, § 52.2.

Leave for Disappearance of Child

The employee is granted unpaid leave to be given during the disappearance of a child. A parent is provided with up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave, whose child (under 19 years of age) disappears as a result of a crime. This leave is not available for employees who are charged (but not necessarily convicted) with a crime that resulted in the disappearance of their child. The leave must be taken consecutively, though it may be taken intermittently with the employer’s consent. The unpaid leave may end on the earliest of the following dates if any apply:

        • The date when the child is found dead;
        • The date on which the circumstances indicate it is no longer probable that the child’s disappearance is a result of a crime;
        • 14 days after the child is found alive;
        • The date on which circumstances indicate it is no longer probable that the child’s disappearance is a result of a crime; or,
        • The date the employee is charged with a crime that resulted in the disappearance of the child.

If requested by the employer, the employee must, as soon as practicable, provide to the employer reasonably sufficient proof that the employee’s child has disappeared in circumstances in which it is probable that the disappearance is a result of a crime. Labor Code, § 52.3.

Leave for Death of Child

If a child of an employee dies as a result of a crime and the employee requests leave, the employee is entitled to unpaid leave for a period of up to 104 weeks. If an employee is charged with a crime that resulted in the death of the employee’s child, the employee is not entitled, or, if already on leave, is no longer entitled to leave. The leave must be taken consecutively, though it may be taken intermittently with the employer’s consent. The unpaid leave may end on the earliest of the following dates if any apply:

          • The date the employee is charged with a crime that resulted in the death of the child;
          • The date that is the last day of the last unit of time in respect of which the employer consents.

If requested by the employer, the employee must, as soon as practicable, provide to the employer reasonably sufficient proof that the employee’s child is dead. Employment Standards Act, § 52.4.

Bereavement Leave

An employee is entitled to up to 3 days of unpaid leave on the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family. Employment Standards Act, § 54.

Jury Duty Leave

If an employee is required to attend court as a juror, the employer has the same duties to provide leave to the employee for the same. The employee is entitled to all increases in wages and benefits the employee would have been entitled to have the leave not been taken or the attendance as a juror not been required. Employment Standards Act, § 55.

 

Leave for Victim of Sexual Violence

Employees are entitled to receive a job-protected unpaid leave of up to 10 days and 15 weeks if they, or an “eligible person” such as their children or a dependent adult person under their care, experience domestic or sexual violence, and wish to request a leave for one or more of the following purposes:

      • To seek medical attention for the employee or eligible person in respect of a physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic or sexual violence;
      • To obtain for the employee or eligible person victim services or other social services relating to domestic or sexual violence;
      • To obtain for the employee or eligible person psychological or other professional counseling services in respect of a psychological or emotional condition caused by domestic or sexual violence;
      • To temporarily or permanently relocate the employee or eligible person or both the employee and eligible person;
      • To seek legal or law enforcement assistance for the employee or eligible person, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to the domestic or sexual violence; or
      • Any prescribed purpose.
Critical Injury or Illness Leave

Bill 8 passed on May 30, 2019, extended critical illness or injury leave up to 36 weeks to care for a critically ill child and up to 16 weeks to care for a critically ill adult.

Last updated on: June 26th, 2019