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Record Keeping

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.

Employers must keep certain records concerning employees. There are many forms to help businesses in this area. (For example, refer to the Canadian Payroll Association)

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) requires that employers keep written records about each employee for a certain time period. Records can either be kept by the employer or someone authorized to keep them on the employer’s behalf (for example, an accountant or a payroll company). Regardless, these records have to be readily available for a Ministry of Labour employment standards officer.

Other chapters of this workbook often include a records checklist for the particular standard being discussed. Below is a list of record keeping rules:

Specific Rules

  1. Records of each employee’s name, address and employment start date must be kept for three years after the employment ends.
  2. The date of birth of any students under 18 must be recorded and kept until they turn 21 or for three years after their employment ends, whichever happens first.
  3. The number of hours that non-salaried employees worked each day and each week must be recorded. In the case of salaried employees, (i.e., those who are paid a fixed amount for each pay period, which doesn’t vary with hours worked, unless more than 44 hours are worked in a week), employers must record the hours worked in excess of their regular work week, and those in excess of eight hours a day (or the employee’s regular work day).
  4. An employer must keep all documents relating to an employee’s leave (e.g., pregnancy, parental, family medical, etc.) for three years after the day the leave has expired.
  5. If an employer employs homeworkers, a register must be kept showing each homeworker’s name, address and wage rate. This information can be deleted from the register three years after the homeworker’s employment ends.

Record Keeping Checklist

Employers, please verify that:

  • Your records are kept in a manner that follows the five specific rules described above.


  • While it is the employer’s responsibility to keep records, it may also be beneficial for employees to keep a daily record of hours worked.

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