Can an employer ask me to sign an overtime agreement?

Yes. The (ESA) has rules about overtime. And the normal ESA rules that apply to most workers are that the hours they work over 44 hours a week are overtime hours.

But an employer can ask you to sign an agreement that has rules that are different than the normal rules in the ESA.

An employer could ask you to agree to:

  • take paid time off instead of getting overtime pay
  • “average” your overtime hours

Agreeing to paid time off

You can agree to get overtime as paid time off instead of overtime pay. This means you get 1 ½ hours (one hour and 30 minutes) of time off for every hour of overtime that you work.

You must get this time off within 3 months of the week in which you earn it. This does not apply if you sign an agreement with your employer to get the time off within 12 months.

Agreeing to “average” overtime

You can agree to have your overtime “averaged”. This means you get overtime on the average number of overtime hours you work during a period of 2 weeks or more, up to a maximum of 4 weeks, not the actual number of overtime hours you work in each week.

Employers use averaging agreements to avoid paying overtime. If you sign an averaging agreement, you get less for your overtime.

Rules about overtime averaging

Before your employer can go ahead with averaging, they need your agreement.

An overtime agreement must be in writing and should be dated and signed by you or your and your employer.

An agreement to “average” overtime must also:

  • include a date when it ends
  • not be for more than 2 years unless you're represented by a union in which case it can be until the start of a new that applies to you
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