Minimum wage exemptions and special rules

Details the wages and work hours that an employer is allowed to provide, and describes circumstances where employers are exempt from parts of the Employment Standards Act (ESA).


Overview

This regulation outlines exemptions from the Employment Standards Act that apply to certain occupations and industries. It also sets out special rules that change how certain standards apply to certain occupations or industries.

Purpose

This regulation outlines occupations and industries that are exempt from ESA rules, including:

  • maximum hours of work
  • rest periods
  • eating periods
  • overtime
  • minimum wage
  • public holidays and/or vacation with pay
  • threshold for overtime pay

For example: the general rule under the ESA states that employees are entitled to overtime pay after working more than 44 hours in a work week. However, seasonal employees whose employment is directly related to the canning, processing and packing of fresh fruits or vegetables (or their distribution) are entitled to overtime pay after working more than 50 hours in a work week.

What we've heard

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8 comments


Pat Howard (a business owner)

Created 7 months 2 weeks ago

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Minimum wage and conditions for the summer employment of youth in seasonal industries needs to be revamped to reflex the needs of both employee and employer. Especially for remote businesses with staff whose employment also includes room & board.


RA Gill Ltd (a business owner)

Created 7 months 2 weeks ago

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The raising of the minimum wage on seasonal tourist related businesses in our area of Northwestern Ontario has damaged the chances that youth will be employed. Why would businesses pay someone who has never had a job before $14-$15? (going up next year). The Ontario Government claims they are doing everything to help youth in Ontario to get jobs, but by jumping the minimum wage up so fast it is doing the opposite. I think a lot of businesses in Ontario would have been fine with a minimum wage increase done over 3-5 years like many other provinces have done.

The solution for small businesses like mine is to raise prices and not hire youth. The higher prices negate any wage increases Ontario workers have received. The government, however, created more tax revenue dollars as worker pay more tax with a higher wage bracket and now pay more HST 13% as product prices escalate.
I think that was the plan all along. More tax revenue to overspend and not balance the Ontario budget.


bushlife (a business owner)

Created 7 months 2 weeks ago

Lower the minimum wage for students in part time or seasonal positions.
Make provision for longer hours of work without overtime for seasonal tourist establishments. A seasonal contractual agreement that employers and employees could enter into that would indicate that the positions are peak and valley types of hours, and that hours worked will be paid for. There must still be provision for certain periods of break.


bushlife (a business owner)

Created 7 months 2 weeks ago

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A small business like ourselves takes a chance hiring young people in their workplace. Many of these young people come with little or no life or work skills. WE ARE the schools... the training ground for these youth. To have to pay top dollar wages for young, unqualified seasonal summer staff that must be trained from top to bottom is not reasonable. Where is the incentive to give our youth our time and attention in training when we could seek out a mature person with skills for the same dollar wages. Extremely high minimum wage is pricing our youth out of jobs. In additional the high minimum wage is forcing small businesses like ourselves to consider downsizing so that we won't be needing as many workers to be able to make ends meet. Maximum hours of work is also an issue for seasonal tourist businesses. There is a very short window in which to run our establishments. This means very long, hard days, for a short period of time. If overtime is required to be paid for those short periods, it is highly unlikely that a longer term employment can be sustained for employees for the duration of the tourist season. Early layoffs would be inevitable as wage budgets would be expended during the peak times.


NW Ontario Lodgeowner (a business owner)

Created 7 months 2 weeks ago

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The new minimum wage which has been increased by substantial amounts in a short period of time has left many of us scrambling for several reasons. However, since you have been short sighted in changing it so fast by so much there is nothing that can be done now. However this wage needs to take into account the industry it is being enforced on and not unilaterally be applied across the entire workforce. Not thought through at all. In tourism, specifically hospitality a substantial part of a worker's wages come from gratuities. In some areas as much as 50% of the wage can be attributable to such situations. Now that you have raised the wage without taking into consideration the fact the majority of lodge owners, are small business owners whose employee make substantial wages with gratuities. We will now have waitresses making over $50,000 a year. To put that in perspective that is the same amount of a senior Westjet flight attendant.

This is absolutely ridiculous. If someone is going to get $7-10 an hour in tips alone a lodge owner should not have to pay them $15 an hour on top of that.


Krista Morgan (a business owner)

Created 7 months 2 weeks ago

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I feel the Employment Standard Act is unfair to both employers and employees when it comes to holiday pay for part time and occasional employees.
Examples: Nicole works at a full time job elsewhere and works part time for me 1 day every other Saturday 8 hours.
Sarah works 5 days per week for me 4 hours per day.
Based on ESA holiday pay calculations of total time worked in the pay period divided by the number of days worked = amount of holiday pay required
ESA says Nicole must receive 8 hours holiday pay from me for the holiday Monday - a day she never works for me. Nicole will also get 8 hours holiday pay from her full time employer - a day she usually works for them. Based on a $20 hours wage Nicole is NOT working on the holiday Monday and will make her hourly wage of $20 x 16 hr = $320 for that day
ESA says Sarah will receive 4 hours holiday pay, based on $20 hourly wage = $80 which I am fine with as she would have normally worked that day.
With this system it is better to have 4 part time/occasional jobs than 1 full time job as you will get holiday pay from all your employers. This ends up with more paperwork at the end of the day.
Example:
If I have 8 occasional employees in March when we are not open on a daily basis, only open for groups. I have a group of 20 people for a 2 day conference. There will be 8 people working between 4 and 8 hours a day for 3 days. 3 weeks later no one has worked because we are not open and Easter arrives. I will have to pay everyone holiday pay based on the hours they worked in the last pay period. So say the average hours/day was 6, for 8 employees for 3 days = 144 hours at $18/hour - Easter has cost $2592 + employers portion of EI and CPP. The total bill for the group 2 weeks ago was $6000.

We are having to manipulate the hours of each employee to minimize costs for holiday pay which costs more time/paperwork at the end of the day.
ie - we have 24 hours of work to do after a group leaves. I usually have 4 people come in to do a 6 hour shift in one day. This would result in 24 hours of holiday pay. Or I have one person come in for 4.5 hours for 5 days. This would result in 4.5 hours of holiday pay. I see nothing fair to employee or employer. I do not want to manipulate this, I want to employee people who want to work and get the job done.



RedTapeComments (a professional service provider)

Created 8 months 4 days ago

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Standards should be uniform across industries and positions. Server and student wage should not be less than minimum.


Hubert M. (an employee)

Created 9 months 4 days ago

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Minimum wage jobs should have better safety and health standards so that they are not missed by industry.One finds deplorable standards of hygiene and health standards followed in retail industry.