This workbook has been prepared to assist employers and employees in understanding some of their obligations and rights under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and its regulations. It does not take the place of the ESA and its regulations and it should not be considered to offer any legal advice on your particular situation.
The minimum wage is the lowest hourly pay rate that an employer can pay an employee. Most employees are eligible for minimum wage. However, a few employers and employees are exempt. To see if this exemption applies to your situation, please see the Special Rule Tool (available at Ontario.ca/ESAtools).
|Minimum Wage Type||Description||Amount as of October 1, 2015|
|General Minimum Wage||Rate that applies to most employees||$11.25 per hour|
|Student Minimum Wage||Rate that applies to students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session or work during a school holiday.||$10.55 per hour|
|Liquor Servers’ Minimum Wage||Rate that applies to employees who serve liquor directly to customers or guests in licensed premises as a regular part of their work.
Note:"Licensed premises" are businesses for which a license or permit has been issued under the Liquor License Act.
|$9.80 per hour|
|Hunting and Fishing Guides' Minimum Wage||Rate is based on blocks of time instead of by the hour. They are entitled to one rate for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and a different rate amount for working five hours or more in a day – whether or not the hours are consecutive.||$56.30 (rate for working fewer than five consecutive hours in day)
$112.60 (rate for working five or more hours in a day, regardless if the hours are worked consecutively)
|Homeworkers' Minimum Wage||Rate applies to employees who do paid work in their own homes. For example, they may sew clothes for a clothing manufacturer, answer telephone calls for a call centre or write software for a high-tech company.
Note: Students under the age of 18 who are employed as homeworkers must be paid the homeworkers' minimum wage.
|$12.40 per hour|
Example: Julia worked 37.5 hours in one week. She is paid on a weekly basis. The minimum wage applicable to Julia is $11.25 per hour.
Since compliance with minimum wage is based on pay periods, Julia must earn at least $421.88 (37.5 hours × $11.25 per hour = $421.88) in this work week.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Eating periods are not included when counting how many hours an employee works in a week.
As in the case of most other employees, if an employee's pay is based completely or partly on commission, and the employee’s sales or offers to purchase goods or services are normally made at the employer’s place of business (or the employee is a route salesperson), the total amount paid for a pay period divided by the total hours the employee worked must equal at least the minimum wage.
Example: Luba works on commission and has a weekly pay period. One week, she earned $150 in commission and worked 25 hours. The minimum wage is $11.00 an hour.
The minimum wage ($11.25) multiplied by the number of hours worked in the pay period (25 hours) is $281.25. Luba is owed the difference between her commission pay ($150) and the required regular pay at the minimum wage rate ($281.25). Luba's employer owes her $131.25.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The calculation is more complicated where overtime hours are worked. Industry-specific and job-specific exemptions and special rules may apply to some salespeople who earn commission. Please see the Special Rule Tool for details (available at Ontario.ca/ESAtools).
For the purposes of ensuring that the applicable minimum wage has been paid to an employee, an employer can take into account the provision of room or board (meals). Room and board will be deemed to have been paid as wages only if the employee has received the meals or occupied the room.
Example: The amounts that are designated “paid to the employee” for room and board are calculated as a value on top of their wages (not deducted). For example, if Sam gets paid $381.30 per week and receives a private room and board, which is valued at $85.25, then he is deemed to be making $466.55 per week for purposes of determining whether he has been paid at least the minimum wage.
Calculating whether minimum wage has been paid: $466.55 per week/37 hours = $12.61 per hour.
Therefore, Sam is considered to have been paid at least the general minimum wage ($11.25 per hour).
When an employer is providing room and/or board (i.e. meals), the following dollar equivalents are considered to be paid as wages when assessing the employer’s compliance with minimum wage.
Harvesters of fruit, vegetables or tobacco
All other employees
Travel time, time spent on mandatory training (for existing employees) and, in certain uncommon circumstances, commuting time are considered to be hours of work for minimum wage purposes. Employers can establish different rates for different types of work as long as they are still complying with the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions.
When an employee who regularly works more than three hours a day is required to report to work but works less than three hours, he or she must be paid whichever of the following amounts is the highest:
For example, if an employee who is a liquor server is paid $12 per hour and works only two hours, he or she is entitled to three hours at minimum wage.
The liquor servers’ minimum wage is $9.80 per hour, and is calculated by multiplying $9.80 by three hours of work, which totals $29.40. She is entitled to three hours at minimum wage instead of two hours at her regular wage because $12 per hour x 2 hours of work equals only $24.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The rule does not apply to:
If the minimum wage rate changes during a pay period, the pay period will be treated as if it were two separate pay periods and the employee will be entitled to at least the minimum wage that applies in each of those periods.
Employers and employees, please verify that:
Employers and employees, if the work being performed is covered by special rules, please verify:
Questions? Call the Employment Standards Call Centre at 1-800-531-5551