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Appendix A: Definitions

Alternative vacation entitlement year:
a recurring 12-month period established by the employer to begin on a date other than the employee’s date of hire. For example, an employee was hired June 1, but the employer selects an alternative vacation entitlement year commencing January 1.
a person or business that has made an arrangement with a temporary help agency to have the temporary help agency’s assignment employee(s) perform work for them on a temporary basis.
Gross Wages:
wages before statutory deductions.
Overtime Pay:
for most employees, whether they work full-time, part-time, are students, temporary help agency assignment employees, or casual employees, overtime begins after they have worked 44 hours in a work week. After 44 hours, they must receive overtime pay. Overtime pay is 1½ times the employee's regular rate of pay. (This is often called "time and a half.") For example, an employee who has a regular rate of $15.00 an hour will have an overtime rate of $22.50 an hour (15 x 1.5 = 22.50). The employee must therefore be paid at a rate of $22.50 an hour for every hour worked in excess of 44 in a week.
Public Holiday Pay:
means an employee’s entitlement with respect to a public holiday. Public Holiday Pay is calculated by adding up the total amount of regular wages earned and any vacation pay payable in the four work weeks prior to the work week in which the public holiday fell and dividing that amount by 20.
Regular Rate:
an employee's rate of pay for each non-overtime hour of work in the employee's work week.
Regular Wages:
are wages other than overtime pay, vacation pay, public holiday pay, premium pay, termination pay and severance pay and certain contractual entitlements.
Regular Wage Rate:
the rate at which an employee is paid on a regular basis. Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer can pay an employee. Most employees are eligible for minimum wage, whether they are full-time, part-time, casual employees, or are paid an hourly rate, commission, piece rate, flat rate or salary.
Regular Work Week:
for an employee who usually works the same number of hours every week, a regular work week is a week of that many hours, not including overtime hours.
occurs if an employer or a client threatens or punishes employees in any way for;
  • asking the employer to comply with the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the regulations
  • asking questions about rights under the ESA
  • filing a complaint under the ESA
  • exercising or trying to exercise a right under the ESA
  • giving information to an employment standards officer
  • taking, planning on taking, being eligible or becoming eligible for a parental, pregnancy, personal emergency, family medical leave, organ donor, declared emergency, or reservist leave
  • There is a garnishment order against your employer (that is, a court has ordered your employer to pay someone else money that the employer owes to you in order to pay off a debt that you owe)
  • participating in a proceeding under the ESA
  • participating in a proceeding under section 4 of the Retail Business Holidays Act (The RBHA prohibits most retail stores from opening on certain holidays. Section 4 of the RBHA creates a process for the public to give their views to municipal councils on whether there should be an exemption to the closing requirement).
Severance Pay:
money an employee is entitled to under the ESA if his or her employment is severed by the employer and he or she has at least five years of employment with the employer if:
  • the employer has a payroll of $2.5 million or more, or
  • the severance is due to a permanent discontinuance of all or part of the employer’s business and the employee is one of 50 or more employees whose employment is severed within a six-month period. It compensates an employee for loss of seniority and the value of firm-specific skills. It also recognizes an employee's long service.
Standard vacation entitlement year:
a recurring 12-month period beginning on the date of hire.
Stub period:
period between the date of hire and the beginning of the first alternative vacation entitlement year or, the period between the end of a standard vacation entitlement year and the beginning of an alternative vacation entitlement year where the employer switches from a standard vacation entitlement year to an alternative vacation entitlement year. For example, if an employer has chosen an alternative vacation entitlement year that runs January 1 to December 31 and the employee is hired on September 1, the stub period will be September 1 to December 31.
a number of expressions are commonly used to describe situations when employment is terminated by the employer. These include "let go," "discharged," "dismissed," "fired" and "permanently laid off." Under the ESA a person's employment is terminated if the employer:
  • dismisses or stops employing an employee (including where an employee is no longer employed due to the bankruptcy or insolvency of the employer)
  • "constructively" dismisses an employee and the employee resigns, in response, within a reasonable time
  • lays an employee off for a period that is longer than a "temporary layoff".
Termination Pay:
an employee who does not receive the written notice required under the ESA must be given termination pay in lieu of notice. Termination pay is a lump sum payment equal to the regular wages for a regular work week that an employee would have earned had he or she been given the required notice. An employee earns vacation pay on his or her termination pay. Employers must also continue to make whatever contributions would be required to maintain the benefits the employee would have been entitled to during what would have been the notice period.
Vacation entitlement year:
the 12-month period over which employees earn vacation.
Vacation pay:
is at least four per cent of the “gross” wages (excluding any vacation pay) earned in the 12-month vacation entitlement year or stub period (where that applies). The “gross” wages on which vacation pay is calculated include:
  • regular earnings, including commissions
  • bonuses and gifts that are non-discretionary or are related to hours of work, production or efficiency
  • overtime pay
  • public holiday pay
  • termination pay
  • allowances for room and board.
Work week:
a recurring period of seven consecutive days, selected by the employer, for the purpose of scheduling work. If the employer does not select the work week period, work week means a recurring period of seven consecutive days beginning Sunday and ending Saturday.

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