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Employment Standards in Ontario

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) sets minimum standards for most workplaces in Ontario. Special rules and exemptions apply to certain employees.

What you need to know

Employers are prohibited from penalizing employees in any way for exercising ESA rights.

Hours of Work and Eating Periods: There are daily and weekly limits on hours of work. Employees may work more if certain conditions are met. Employees must not work more than 5 consecutive hours without a 30-minute meal break. Learn more at

Overtime Pay: Overtime is payable after 44 hours of work in a week for most jobs. The overtime rate must be at least 1½ times the regular rate of pay.

Minimum Wage: Most employees are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage. For current rates visit

Payday: Employees must be paid on a regular payday and receive a wage statement.

Vacation Time and Pay: Most employees earn at least 2 weeks of vacation time after every 12 months. They must be paid at least 4% of the total wages they earned as vacation pay.

Public Holidays: Ontario has 9 public holidays each year. Most employees are entitled to take these days off work and be paid public holiday pay.

Leaves of Absence: There are a number of job-protected unpaid leaves of absence including pregnancy, parental, family caregiver, and personal emergency leave.

Termination Notice and Pay: In most cases, employers must give advance written notice when terminating employment and/or termination pay instead of notice. Learn more at

Other ESA Rights and Special Rules: There are other rights as well as special rules not listed on this poster including rights to severance pay and special rules for assignment employees of temporary help agencies.

Contact the Ministry of Labour for more information.

Call us at 416-326-7160, 1-800-531-5551, TTY 1-866-567-8893, or visit our website at

Information is available in multiple languages.

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