Quebec

Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The regular workweek is 40 hours except in the cases where it is fixed by regulation.

    • Averaging work hours is possible when employer has an agreement with an employee, with a maximum term of 6 months, which is evidenced in writing at least 30 days before the beginning of the first period, over which working hours are staggered under the agreements; the hours are staggered over a maximum period of 4 weeks and the work week may not exceed the standard provided for in the law by more than 10 hours.
    • Employers and employees may agree on the staggering of working hours on a basis other than a weekly basis, without the authorization, subject to the condition that the agreement has a maximum term of six months and is evidenced in writing at least 30 days before the beginning of the first period over which hours are staggered, the hours are staggered over a maximum period of four weeks and a work week may not exceed the standard provided for in the law or the regulations by more than 10 hours.

Act Respecting Labour Standards, §52-53; Amended by Bill 176 §8.

Overtime

Any work performed in addition to the regular work-week entails a premium of 50% of the prevailing hourly wage paid to the employee. The employer may, at the request of the employee or in the cases provided for by a collective agreement or decree, replace the payment of overtime by compensatory rest equivalent to the overtime worked plus 50%. In order to compute overtime, annual leave and statutory general holidays with pay are counted as days of work.

An employee who reports for work at his place of employment at the express demand of his employer or in the regular course of his employment and who works fewer than three consecutive hours, except in the case of superior force, is entitled, to an indemnity equal to three hours’ wages at the prevailing hourly rate except where the application of overtime entitles him to a greater amount.

 

An employee can refuse to work more than 2 hours after the employee’s regular daily working hours or more than 14 working hours per 24-hour period, whichever period is the shortest or, for an employee whose daily working hours are flexible or non-continuous, more than 12 working hours per 24 hour period subject to section 53(maximum hour of work), more than 50 working hours per week or, for an employee working in an isolated area or carrying out work in the James Bay territory, more than 60 working hours per week.

An employee can refuse to work if he was not informed at least 5 days in advance that he would be required to work unless the nature of his duties requires him to remain available, he is a farm worker, or his services are required within the limits set out. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §55-56; Amended by Bill 176 §9(1).

Breaks

An employee is entitled to a weekly minimum rest period of 32 consecutive hours.

 

Daily Break

The employer must grant to an employee a rest period of thirty minutes, without pay, for meals, for a period of five consecutive hours of work unless stated otherwise in a collective agreement or decree. That period shall be remunerated if the employee is not authorized to leave his workstation. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §78-79.

Public Holidays

The following days are statutory general holidays:

      • 1 January;
      • Good Friday or Easter Monday, at the option of the employer;
      • The Monday preceding 25 May;
      • 1 July, or 2 July where the 1st falls on a Sunday;
      • The first Monday in September;
      • The second Monday in October;
      • 25 December

For each statutory general holiday, the employer must pay the employee an indemnity equal to 1/20 of the wages earned during the four complete weeks of pay preceding the week of the holiday, excluding overtime. However, the indemnity paid to an employee remunerated in whole or in part on a commission basis must be equal to 1/60 of the wages earned during the 12 complete weeks of pay preceding the week of the holiday.

 

If an employee must work on one of the public holidays, the employer, in addition to paying to the employee working on that general holiday the wages for the work done, must pay to such employee the indemnity, or grant him a compensatory holiday of one day. In this case, the holiday must be taken within three weeks before or after that day, unless a collective agreement or a decree provides for a longer period.

 

If the employee is on an annual leave on any of the paid public holidays or if it does not coincide with the employee’s regular work schedule, employer is required to pay the employee an indemnity equal to 1/20 of the wages earned during the four complete weeks of pay preceding the week of the holiday, excluding overtime. The uninterrupted service of 60 days for entitlement to public holiday pay is not required for an employee to be eligible to receive a paid holiday.

 

To benefit from a statutory general holiday, an employee must not have been absent from work without the employer’s authorization or without valid cause on the working day preceding or on the working day following the holiday. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §59.1-65; Amended by Bill 176 §10.

Annual Leave

The reference year is a period of twelve consecutive months during which an employee progressively acquires entitlement to an annual leave. That period extends from 1 May of the preceding year to 30 April of the current year unless an agreement or decree fixes a different starting date for that period.

 

Effective January 1, 2019, an employee to be entitled to two weeks of vacation after one year of service and 3 weeks of paid vacation after 3 years of uninterrupted service [ instead of the current norm of three weeks of vacation after 5 years of service]. The annual leave must be taken within 12 months following the end of the reference year, except where a collective agreement or a decree allows it to be deferred until the following year. The annual leave may also be divided into more than two periods where so requested by the employee, provided the employer gives consent.

 

In addition, if at the end of the 12 months following the end of a reference year, the employee is absent for any of the reasons set out in section 79.1 ( leave owing to sickness, an organ or tissue donation for transplant, an accident, domestic violence or sexual violence) or is absent or on leave for family or parental matters, the employer may, at the request of the employee, defer the annual leave to the following year. If the annual leave is not so deferred, the employer must pay the indemnity for the annual leave to which the employee is entitled. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §66-70; Amended by Bill 176 §11-12.

Minimum Wage

As on May 1, 2018, the minimum wage is $12.00.

Special Leave

Maternity Leave

Pregnant employees are entitled to a maternity leave without pay of a maximum duration of 18 continuous weeks. The parental leave may be added to the maternity leave. The employee may spread the maternity leave before or after the date of delivery as she wishes. The employer may agree to a longer maternity leave if the employee requests it. The maternity leave may not begin before the 16th week preceding the expected date of delivery and shall end not later than 18 weeks afterward. If the leave begins at the time of delivery, the week of delivery is not included in the calculation. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §81.4-81.9.

Parental Leave

The father and the mother of a new-born child, and a person who adopts a child are entitled to parental leave without pay of not more than 52 consecutive weeks.

 

 Parental leave may not begin before the week the child is born or, in the case of adoption, the week the child is entrusted to the employee within the framework of an adoption procedure or the week the employee leaves his work to go to a place outside Québec in order that the child be entrusted to him. It shall end not later than 70 weeks after the birth or, in the case of adoption, 70 weeks after the child was entrusted to the employee. Parental leave may end at the latest 104 weeks after the birth or, in the case of adoption, 104 weeks after the child was entrusted to the employee. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §81.10-81.11.

Paternity Leave

 An employee is entitled to a paternity leave of not more than five consecutive weeks, without pay, on the birth of his child. The paternity leave shall not begin before the week of the birth of the child and shall not end later than 52 weeks after the week of the birth.

 

A paternity leave may be taken after giving written notice of not less than three weeks to the employer, stating the expected date of the leave and that of the return to work. However, the notice may be shorter if the birth of the child occurs before the expected date.

An absence for a paternity leave during the reference year does not reduce the length of an employee’s vacation. The employee is entitled to an indemnity that is equal, depending on his length of uninterrupted service, to 2 or 3 times the weekly average of the wages earned during the reference year. It should be noted that the employee does not accumulate vacation pay while on parental leave. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §81.2-81.2.1.

Absence for Birth or Adoption

An employee may be absent from work for five days at the birth of his child, the adoption of a child or where there is a termination of pregnancy in or after the twentieth week of pregnancy. The first two days of absence shall be remunerated. This leave may be divided into days at the request of the employee. It may not be taken more than fifteen days after the child arrives at the residence of its father or mother or after the termination of pregnancy. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §81.1; Amended by Bill 176 §32.

Family and Parental Leave

An employee may be absent from work, for 10 days per year to fulfill obligations relating to the care, health or education of the employee’s child or the child of the employee’s spouse, or because of the state of health of a relative or a person for whom the employee acts as a caregiver. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §79.7; Amended by Bill 176 §21.

Reservist Leave

An employee who is also a reservist of the Canadian Forces may be absent from work, without pay, for one of the following reasons:

      • If the employee is credited with 12 months of uninterrupted service, to take part in an operation of the Canadian Forces outside Canada, for a maximum period of 18 months;
      • To take part in an operation of the Canadian Forces in Canada whose purpose is to provide assistance in the case of a major disaster;
      • To take part in the annual training for the period prescribed by regulation or, if no such period is prescribed, for a period of not more than 15 days; or
      • To take part in any other operation of the Canadian Forces, in the cases, on the conditions and for the period prescribed by regulation.

Act Respecting Labour Standards, §81.17.1

Leave for Sickness, Organ or Tissue Donation, Accident, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence or a Criminal Offence

An employee may be absent from work for a period of not more than 26 weeks over a period of 12 months, owing to sickness, an organ or tissue donation for transplant, an accident, domestic violence or sexual violence of which the employee has been a victim. Such absence shall be unpaid.

 

However, an employee may be absent from work for a period of not more than 104 weeks of unpaid leave, if the employee suffers serious bodily injury during or resulting directly from a criminal offense that renders the employee unable to hold his regular position. In that case, the period of absence shall not begin before the date on which the criminal offense was committed, or before the expiry of the period, where applicable, and shall not end later than 104 weeks after the commission of the criminal offense. This does not apply in case of an employment injury respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases. An employer is prohibited from dismissing, suspending or transferring an employee who has 3 months’ service for the reason of absence due to illness or accident, provided the absence is for not more than 17 weeks within a 12-month period. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §79.1; Amended by Bill 176 § 33 & 34.

Leave for Caregiver of Family Member

An employee may be absent from work for a period of not more than 16 weeks over a period of 12 months where he must stay with a relative or a person for whom the employee acts as a caregiver, as attested by a professional working in the health and social services sector and governed by the Professional Code, because of a serious illness or a serious accident. Where the relative or person is a minor child, the period of absence is not more than 36 weeks over a period of 12 months. However, if a minor child of the employee has a serious and potentially mortal illness, attested by a medical certificate, the employee is entitled to an extension of the absence, which shall end at the latest 104 weeks after the beginning thereof.

 

 An employee may be absent from work for a period of not more than 27 weeks over a period of 12 months where he must stay with a relative, other than his minor child, or a person for whom the employee acts as a caregiver, as attested by a professional working in the health and social services sector and governed by the Professional Code, because of a serious and potentially mortal illness, attested by a medical certificate. An employee is entitled to an extension of the period of absence under the first paragraph of section 79.8, which shall end not later than 104 weeks after the beginning of that period, if the employee must stay with his minor child who suffered serious bodily injury during or resulting directly from a criminal offense that renders the child unable to carry on regular activities. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §79.8, 79.8.1 – 79.9; Amended by Bill 176 §22 & 23.

Leave for Disappearance of Child due to Crime

An employee is entitled to an extension of the period of absence which shall end not later than 104 weeks after the beginning of that period, if his minor child has suffered serious bodily injury during or resulting directly from a criminal offense that renders the child unable to carry on regular activities or if the child has disappeared. An employee may be absent from work for a period of not more than 104 weeks by reason of the death of the employee’s minor child. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §79.10; Amended by Bill 176 §24-25.

Bereavement Leave

An employee would be entitled to 2 paid days of absence in the case of the death or the funeral of the employee’s spouse, child (or the child of the employee’s spouse), father, mother, brother or sister. He may also be absent from work, without pay, for 4 more days on such occasion. An employee may be absent from work for one day, without pay, by reason of the death or the funeral of a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, one of his grandparents or grandchildren, or of the father, mother, brother or sister of his spouse. The employee would be allowed to be absent from work for a period of 104 weeks in the case of a suicide of an employee’s spouse, father, mother or child of full age, (instead of the earlier provision of 52 weeks). Act Respecting Labour Standards, §79.11; Amended by Bill 176 §26, 30.

 

A period of absence under sections 79.9 to 79.12 shall not begin before the date on which the criminal offense that caused the serious bodily injury was committed or before the date of the death or disappearance and shall not end later than 104 weeks after that date. However, during the period of absence, the employee may return to work intermittently or on a part-time basis if the employer consents to it. If during the same 104-week period, a new event occurs, affecting the same child and giving entitlement to a new period of absence, the maximum period of absence for those two events may not exceed 104 weeks from the date of the first event. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §79.15; Amended by Bill 176 §29.

Leave for Wedding or Civil Reunion

An employee may be absent from work for 1 day without reduction of wages, on the day of his or her wedding or civil union. Act Respecting Labour Standards, §79-81.

Last updated on: April 29th, 2019