Print This Page

Your Rights @ Work

  • Issued: April 27, 2012
  • Content last reviewed: January 2018

See also: What Young Workers Should Know | Young Workers | Disclaimer

There are over 1.5 million young people aged 15 to 24 working across Ontario. If you're one of them, read this now.

Standards at Work

A law called the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) sets minimum standards for things like pay, hours and time off. Most workplaces in Ontario must follow this law and your rights are the same whether you work full-time or part-time.


young workers

You should have a regular pay period and payday. You should also receive a wage statement (pay stub) that includes: your gross and net wage (after deductions), your pay period and your wage rate, if applicable (e.g. $15/hr). Any deductions, like Employment Insurance, taxes and Canada Pension Plan must be noted. For more information on payment of wages, visit Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act.

Minimum Wage

Most employees are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage. A general minimum wage applies to most employees. There are different minimum wages for students, liquor servers, homeworkers, and hunting and fishing guides. To find out the current minimum wages visit: Minimum Wage

Tips and Other Gratuities

Employers cannot withhold tips and other gratuities from employees or make deductions from their employees’ tips to cover things like spillage, breakage, losses or damage, etc. However, employers can make deductions from employees’ tips and other gratuities if it is authorized by statute or a court order, or if the amount will be distributed to other employees as part of a tip pool. For more information visit Tips and Gratuities.

Working Time, Rest and Eating Periods

There are limits to the number of hours you can be required or allowed to work. In addition, you are entitled to a certain number of hours free from work and to be provided with eating periods.

Overtime is payable after 44 hours in most jobs. Overtime pay is at least 1.5 times your normal hourly rate. For more information, visit Hours of Work and Overtime Tool

young worker

Public Holidays

There are nine public holidays in Ontario. Generally, your right is to have these days off work with public holiday pay. These rights begin when you start your job. For more information on public holidays, visit Public Holidays or try our Public Holiday Pay Calculator.

If You Lose Your Job

After working for an employer continuously for three months, most employees must receive advance notice in writing and/or termination pay when their employer ends their employment. The amount of notice depends on how long they have worked for the employer. To learn more, visit Termination of Employment, or try our Termination Tool.

Your employer does not have to provide a reason for ending your employment but it cannot be for such things as:

  • asking about your employment standards rights (this is called reprisal)
  • refusing to work in excess of the daily and weekly hours of work maximums.

More information on reprisals.

The Employment Standards Top Ten

For more information on the rights listed below, please visit Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act.

  1. It should be in writing.

    Expect a regular pay day and a pay stub that is clear. Make sure to keep a record of the hours that you work.

  2. How do you like my uniform?

    Some employers require you to pay for items like personal uniforms as a condition of having a job. However, deductions like these from your wages may only be made if you agree in writing to have a specified amount deducted. Ask about any special requirements before accepting a job.

  3. Deductions not allowed

    If a customer leaves without paying or your error costs your employer money, that amount cannot be deducted from your wages. That amount can also not be deducted from your tips and other gratuities.

  4. Where’s the Employment Standards Poster?

    Your employer is required to provide you with a copy of the Employment Standards Poster within 30 days of hiring you. Did they?

  5. What is work time?

    Time spent in training that is required by the employer or by law is counted as work time. If you have to transport materials from the workplace to another job site, that is work time too. To learn more, try our Hours of Work and Overtime Tool.

  6. Can I be required to work on a public holiday?

    If you work in a hotel, motel, tourist resort, restaurant, tavern, hospital or an establishment with continuous operations, you may be required to work on a public holiday. Learn more at Public Holidays.

  7. Sometimes there’s an exception

    Some jobs have special rules or exemptions. To learn more, try our Guide to special rules and exemptions.

  8. What’s my vacation pay?

    Vacation pay is at least 4% of wages (excluding vacation pay). Any vacation pay that is not paid is owed to you when your employment ends.

    For employees with five or more years of employment, vacation pay is at least six per cent of the gross wages earned in the 12-month vacation entitlement year or stub period. Any vacation pay not already paid is owed to you when your employment ends. Learn more at Vacation.

  9. Are you a "Temp"?

    If you work for a temp agency, you generally have the same rights as other employees under the ESA, including public holiday pay and notice of termination. To learn more, visit Your Employment Standards Rights: Temporary Help Agency Assignment Employees

  10. Call us if you need us.

    Employment Standards Information Centre
    416-326-7160 (Greater Toronto Area)
    1-800-531-5551 (Toll-free Canada-wide)
    1-866-567-8893 (TTY for hearing impaired)
    Information is available in multiple languages.

Warning Signs

  • Not getting paid on time
  • No pay stub
  • Not paid for extra hours
  • No time to eat
  • No public holiday pay
  • Unexplained deductions from your pay

Learn More

By visiting our website for more resources, tools, and videos.

Employment Standards
Young Workers

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who qualify. EI is run by the federal government.
Toll-free: 1-800-206-7218
TTY: 1-800-529-3742

"Safety at Work
is Everyone’s Job"

For Occupational Health & Safety as well as Employment Standards information, see Young Workers

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help employees and employers understand some of the minimum rights and obligations established under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the ESA or regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation. Although we endeavor to ensure that the information in this resource is as current and accurate as possible, errors do occasionally occur. The ESA provides minimum standards only. Some employees may have greater rights under an employment contract, collective agreement, the common law or other legislation. Employers and employees may wish to obtain legal advice.