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There are over 1.5 million young people aged 15-24 across Ontario working in summer jobs and part-time throughout the school year. They are your children, your neighbours and your friends. Unfortunately, some of them are unfairly treated because they are not aware of their rights.
The Ontario Employment Standards Act sets minimum standards for pay, hours and time off and employee rights are the same for both full and part-time employees. Most workplaces in the province must follow this law.
The regular minimum wage is $10.25/hr; $ 9.60/hr is the minimum wage for students under 18 years working less than 28 hours a week when school is in session or during a school holiday; $8.90/hr is the minimum wage for liquor servers. See Minimum wages in Ontario.
Related: 5 tips for summer interns
Employers do not have to provide a reason for terminating workers, but employees may be entitled to termination pay after working for the company for more than three months. And employees cannot be fired as reprisal for asking about their rights under the Employment Standards Act or for refusing to work in excess of the daily and weekly maximum hours of work. See more about reprisals.
Workplace warning signals that should not be ignored are:
• Not getting paid on time
• No pay stub
• Not paid for extra hours
• No time to eat
• No public holiday pay
• Unexplained deductions from pay
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has compiled the following Employment Standards Top 10 list of things all employees should be aware of.
It should be in writing:Expect a regular pay day and a pay stub that is clear. Make sure to keep a record of hours worked.
How do you like my uniform? Some employers may require employees to pay for items like personal uniforms as a condition of having a job. However, wage deductions like these may only be made based on a written agreement to have a specified amount deducted. Ask about any special requirements before accepting a job.
Deductions not allowed: If a customer leaves without paying or an employee error costs the employer money, that amount cannot be deducted from wages.
Where’s the poster? Employers should have the ESA Poster hanging where it can be read by employees.
What is work time?Time spent in training that is required by the employer or by law is counted as work time. If employees have to transport materials from the workplace to another job site, that is work time too.
Public Holidays: Employees working in a hotel, motel, tourist resort, restaurant, tavern, hospital or an establishment with continuous operations, may be required to work on a public holiday.
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 the employee when your employment ends.
Related: The ins and outs of vacation pay
Are you a “Temp”? Employees who work for a temp agency generally have the same rights as other employees under the ESA, including public holiday pay and notice of termination. Learn more about working for a temporary help agency.
Where you can get help: 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).
Also see this Justice for Children and Youth blog.
Summer jobs and other quality work experiences are hard to find. But that does not mean employers can break the law or pay young people less than they deserve. People new to the workforce are less likely to be taken advantage of if they understand the protections afforded to them under the law.