Wages and Hours Rules


The minimum wage in Canada is determined by the province an employee works in, and in some cases, the type of work performed.   

The standard workweek in Canada is 40 hours per week or eight hours per day. Employees who work more than 44 hours per week are eligible for overtime pay. Employees may work a maximum of 48 hours per week, unless another limit is agreed, in writing, by the employer and the employee.  

While Canada does not have generous paid leave policies, employees are entitled to unpaid leave of significant duration with job protection. Total paid vacation time is generally between two and four weeks per year. 

Minimum Wages in Canada

Minimum wage rates in Canada are assigned based on the jurisdiction in which the employee works. The minimum wage ranges from CAD 11.70 (USD 9.38) in New Brunswick province to CAD 16 (USD 12.83) in Nunavut, and they are generally revised annually. Tipped employees in Quebec may earn as little as CAD 10.80 (USD 8.66) per hour.  

There is no requirement to pay student interns, but should you decide to employ and pay student interns they are entitled to at least minimum wage. A local PEO can work with you to ensure that you are compliant with minimum wage laws across the various employee types and locations for your company. 

Working Week/Hours 

The standard daily working hours in Canada are eight hours per day or 40 hours per week and not more than 44 hours per week. Employees may not work more than 48 hours per week without an agreement in writing by both the employer and the employee.  

Employees are entitled to at least one day of full rest per week, usually designated as a Sunday. Certain employee types are exempt from the federally-mandated standard working hours, such as those in the trucking or shipping industries and certain commission-based employees. 

Statutory Public Holidays in Canada 

There are nine national holidays in Canada, but the total number of paid holidays employees receive depends on the province in which they work. The nine national holidays are:  

  • New Year's Day 
  • Good Friday 
  • Victoria Day 
  • Canada Day 
  • Labour Day 
  • Thanksgiving Day 
  • Remembrance Day 
  • Christmas Day 
  • Boxing Day 


Employees in Canada are eligible for overtime pay for every hour worked over 44 hours per week. The overtime pay rate is 150% of an employee’s regular rate of pay. In any given week, employees cannot be required to work beyond 48 hours unless agreed upon in writing by the employee and employer. 

To ensure you fairly compensate employees for hours worked, you can work with a local PEO. A PEO provider can administer payroll for your employees, including pay for overtime hours. 

Leave Policies 

Canadian labor law requires employers to provide three main types of leave to employees: annual leave, parental leave, and sickness/disability leave: 

Annual Leave:  

Paid vacation time is determined by an employee’s length of employment. Employees who have worked for the same company for up to five years are entitled to two weeks of annual leave. Employees with over five years but less than ten years of service receive three weeks of annual leave. Employees with more than ten years of service receive four weeks of annual leave, but it is becoming increasingly common for employers to offer four weeks of paid annual leave to all employees.  

Parental Leave: 

Both maternity and parental leave in Canada are unpaid. Gestational or adoptive parents are entitled to 17 weeks of leave during pregnancy. Pregnant employees must provide their employer with a doctor’s note confirming the pregnancy and provide four weeks’ written notice of their intended leave start date. 

Parental leave is considered separate and additional to maternity leave. It lasts for a duration of up to 63 weeks.  

Sickness or Disability Leave: 

Sick leave is usually unpaid in Canada. Employees are entitled to between 16 and 17 weeks of leave for medical purposes, whether work-related and not. Employees who are sick for more than three days are generally requested to provide a note from a doctor saying that they cannot work. 

When you manage employees through a PEO in Canada, the provider will keep a detailed record of all statutory, contractual, and voluntary leave allowances and provide ongoing reporting of leaves requested, taken, and earned.  

Alternative Work Arrangements 

Employers in Canada are not required to offer alternative work arrangements for their employees; however, they may do so to attract or retain their employees. Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many employees to work-from-home-arrangements, and it is difficult to predict the long-term impact the pandemic may have in Canada. Still, an employer outlining alternative work arrangements for an employee may want to consider including benefits such as access to a coworking space or a stipend for work-from-home improvements. 

There are currently specific flexible job-protected leave arrangements in Canada to accommodate employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees may take four weeks of protected leave in the event of contraction or exposure to the virus requiring isolation. Employees may also take 38 weeks of protected leave in certain circumstances, to care for a child under the age of 12 or another family member who cannot care for themselves as a direct result of COVID-19. 

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