What Is Overtime?

Overtime refers to working time that exceeds the maximum number of hours per week or day laid down by law.

How to Calculate Overtime?

Any hours worked in excess of the standard hours of the work week or day are considered overtime hours. In Canada, when employees are working overtime, they are entitled to either:

  • Pay of at least 1.5 times their normal hourly wage (an employee making $17 per hour at their regular rate will be paid $25.5 when working overtime)
  • Time off with pay (1.5 hours of time off for every hour worked: 4 hours of overtime worked = 6 hours of paid time off)

In Canada, standard hours of work are typically:

  • 8 hours per day (for a period of 24 consecutive hours)
  • 40 hours per week (period starting at midnight on Saturday and ending at midnight on the following Saturday)

Is Overtime Pay Compulsory?

In Canada, the employer may replace overtime pay with paid time-off, but only at the employee’s request or if there is a union agreement that allows it. The time-off must be equivalent to one and a half times the overtime worked.

Can an Employee Refuse to Work Overtime?

In Canada, an employee may refuse to work overtime in certain circumstances, such as carrying out family responsibilities. These can include:

  • Taking care of the health or care of a family members
  • Taking care of the education of a family member who is less than 18 years old

Other situations also allow workers to refuse overtime, notably in order to meet family obligations related to children.

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