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What are the rules about how many hours I have to work?

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What are the rules about how many hours I have to work?

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Reviewed: 
December, 2015
Answer

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has minimum standards that employers must follow. This includes rules about hours of work.

In most jobs, your employer can say you have to work 8 hours a day.

If your employer's regular work day is more than 8 hours, they can say you have to work the number of hours in their regular work day.

But in most jobs the regular work day can't be more than 13 hours. And the regular work week can't be more than 48 hours.

The rules about hours of work may not apply to you if you agreed in writing to different rules.

If you're protected by a union, the union can make an agreement with your employer about hours of work.

Find out if you're an employee

Employers sometimes want you to agree that you're in business for yourself and you're not an employee. This can be a way to avoid the rules about hours of work that apply to employees.

But even if you signed something that says you're an "independent contractor" or in business for yourself, you might still be an employee and have rights that an employee has.

And the rules in Ontario's Employment Standards Act about hours of work might apply to you.

Figuring out if you're an independent contractor

The law says that whether you're an independent contractor or employee depends on many different factors.

Sometimes it's hard to know if you're an independent contractor.

You might need legal advice to figure it out.

Reviewed: 
October, 2016
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Find out if Ontario's laws about hours of work apply to you

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has minimum standards that employers must follow, including rules about hours of work.

But not all jobs are covered by the ESA. And in some cases, only parts of the ESA apply.

Use the Ministry of Labour's online tool called Industries and Jobs with Exemptions or Special Rules to find out if your job is covered and which parts of the ESA apply.

You can also call the Ministry's Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551, 416-326-7160, or 1-866-567-8893 (TTY).

Reviewed: 
October, 2016
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Keep track of your hours

It's a good idea to keep your own record of the hours that you work.

Then you can compare them with your pay stub to make sure your employer:

  • has recorded your hours correctly
  • is paying what they owe you, including any overtime

A good way to keep track of your hours is to send yourself weekly emails. Then, if there are any questions about how many hours you worked or what your employer owes you, you’ll be able to show that you kept track of your hours as you worked them.

Reviewed: 
October, 2016
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Ontario Ministry of Labour
Ontario Ministry of Labour

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