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  • Writer's pictureKristen Bray

Homeworkers Complete Guide to Labour Rights in Ontario

Knowing your employment law rights as an employee is critical to being able to demand good and healthy working conditions and timely and fair remuneration for your work. On the other hand, as an employer, you are required to comply with the law. It can get a bit complicated if you work remotely from home. Hence, here’s everything homeworkers should know about labour rights in Ontario.

employment law rights of remote workers

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An Article from Our American Contributor .

 

1. What Is the Employment Standards Act?

htwlaw - emploment standards act

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The most important employment law you need to know of as a resident of Ontario is the Employment Standards Act (ESA). This is the law that protects workers’ rights and outlines how employees should be treated by their employers as well as what they can demand in terms of their rights being upheld properly.


That being said, not all types of workers are protected by ESA. If you work in a federally-regulated industry (e.g. banking or transportation), then this law won’t apply to you.


Otherwise, ESA is the statute you should look into if you want specific details about your rights as an employee (or if you are an employer who wants to comply with the law).


Click here to take a look at a helpful guide prepared by the Ministry of Labour.



2. The Basics: Working Hours, Minimum Wage, Overtime


Employment Law Regarding Working Hours

employment law protections regarding working hours

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According to ESA, the maximum hours an employee could be required to work is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. However, this limit can be exceeded if there is a written or electronic agreement between the employer and the employee. The length of a regular workday should be clearly established in the agreement between the employer and the employee. The fact that a worker is working remotely from home doesn't change that requirement.


Even if the employee signs an agreement with the employer for a long workday, the employer still has to pay the employee if they are working overtime.


If you are an employer and have a workload that your team of employees can’t handle, you can consider outsourcing. For instance, you can contact the writing service Trust My Paper to hire professional writers who can help you with content creation, documentation, and so on.


What counts as work hours should also be established in the agreement. For instance, breaks for eating might not be considered as working time even though the employee is staying at the office i.e. the workplace. Travel time such as commuting doesn’t count as working hours either (but there are exceptions). Training time is considered as working time if it is required by the employer or by law for the employee to perform their job (e.g. training during the onboarding period).


Of course, as a homeworker, you should discuss what counts as working hours with your employer. You may not need to commute to the office and back, but you do need breaks during the day to eat. You might even want to discuss time for sleeping during the day if your employer allows it.



Employment Law Regarding Minimum Wage

employment law rights regarding minimum wage

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Most employees must be paid at least the minimum wage no matter what type of job they have – full-time, part-time, casual, paid hourly, or per commission, etc. The minimum wage changes every year and will be increased on October 1, 2023. Right now, the minimum wage for homeworkers is $17.05 per hour.


If the employee is paid by commission, then the minimum wage should be calculated based on the number of hours worked to complete that specific commission. For example, if it took you 10 hours to complete a particular commission, then you will use that number of hours to calculate the minimum amount you should be paid using the minimum wage rate (10 * 17.05 = $170.50).



Employment Law Regarding Overtime

employment law rights regarding overtime

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In most cases, overtime starts when you have been working over 44 hours per week. The hours an employee worked over 44 hours in a specific week will have to be paid by the employer as overtime. The rate for overtime work is 1.5 times the regular rate.


Keep in mind that overtime is generally not calculated on a daily basis but rather on a weekly basis or over a long period of time under an averaging agreement. If you want to be paid for overtime work on a daily basis, you need to discuss this with your employer and sign an agreement regarding it.


 

Click here to contact HTW Law - Employment Lawyer for assistance and legal consultation.

contact htw law - employment lawyer for wrongful dismissal help
 

3. How About Holidays, Vacation, and Leave?


Holidays - Employment Law

Holidays - Employment Law

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Ontario has nine public holidays, including New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Most employees can take these days off and get paid public holiday pay.


If an employee wants to work during a public holiday, an agreement should be signed electronically or in writing. As an employer, you can hire a professional writer from the writing agency Best Essays Education to help you craft a simple agreement. The employee will either have to be paid public holiday pay and premium pay or paid regular wages while receiving another substitute holiday for which they will receive public holiday pay.


However, you want more than a simple agreement, you will need to consult with an employment lawyer to draft a full employment agreement.


Vacation - Employment Law

Vacation - Employment Law

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Depending on how many years of employment you have, you as an employee will be entitled to a different number of vacation days:

  • Less than 5 years of employment – 2 weeks of vacation time after each 12-month vacation entitlement year

  • 5 or more years of employment – 3 weeks of vacation time after each 12-month vacation entitlement year

  • Your vacation pay also depends on the number of years of employment you have:

  • Less than 5 years of employment – vacation pay is at least 4% of the gross wages (excluding vacation pay) earned in the 12-month vacation entitlement year

  • 5 or more years of employment – vacation pay is at least 6% of the gross wages (excluding vacation pay) earned in the 12-month vacation entitlement year

DO NOT confuse vacation time with vacation pay, they are two different things.


Click here to take a look at a helpful guide prepared by the Ministry of Labour regarding vacation time and vacation pay.


Leaves of absence - Employment Law

Leaves of absence - Employment Law

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There are different types of leave you can take that have different standards for length, pay, and so on:

  • Pregnancy and Parental LeavePregnancy leave can last up to 17 weeks and is unpaid. New parents have the right to take parental leave which is also unpaid. Mothers can take up to 61 weeks (if pregnancy leave was taken) or up to 63 weeks (if pregnancy leave wasn’t taken).

  • Personal Emergency Leave – This kind of leave includes sick days. Personal emergency leave usually amounts to 10 days every calendar year.

  • Family-Related Leave – This includes family caregiver leave (unpaid, up to 8 weeks per calendar year per family member), critical illness leave (unpaid, up to 37 weeks if a minor child is critically ill or up to 17 weeks if an adult is), and crime-related child death or disappearance leave (unpaid, up to 104 weeks).

Click here to take a look at a helpful guide prepared by the Ministry of Labour regarding vacation time and vacation pay.



4. Wrapping Up


All in all, homeworkers in Ontario can be certain that their rights are protected, but if the employer doesn’t comply with ESA, then you must demand that your rights be respected. This guide will help you better understand ESA, but reading the statute yourself will give you a better picture of how the law protects your rights.


The Employment Standards Act may be found by clicking here.


Click here to take a look at a helpful guide prepared by the Ministry of Labour.


Unfortunately, not all businesses comply with the ESA and other employment laws that apply to Ontario homeworkers and remote workers, otherwise there wouldn't be any wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal and workplace harassment and workplace discrimination claims.


You don't have to fight the battle alone. Speaking with an employment lawyer who is familiar with the laws and regulations governing remote workers and homeworkers will go a long way. If you are in doubt, it's essential that you reach out for help as soon as possible right away to help you maximize your severance pay and separation package.


Click here to contact HTW Law - Employment Lawyer for assistance and legal consultation.

contact htw law - employment lawyer for wrongful dismissal help
 

Bio


Kristen Bray is a professional writer and blogger. She mainly covers topics such as blogging, digital marketing, and self-education. In her free time, she practices yoga and also travels.


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