Break Laws In Ontario – Know Your Rights

The Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) requires that all employees be granted one 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours of work. This means your employer can’t force you to eat at your desk or work through lunch. You’re entitled to use the 30-minute break however you want.

If you and your employer agree this time may be broken down into two fifteen-minute breaks, provided you receive at least thirty minutes. However, your employer is not obligated to give you more than thirty minutes of time off work during 5 hours.  

Employees are not entitled to take additional breaks if they are a cigarette smoker. While many employers accommodate these types of breaks, they are not required by law to do so. If your employer does accommodate these types of breaks, it is important that they treat everyone in the workplace equally.

How many breaks in a 4 hour shift in Ontario?

According to the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA), an employer is not required to give a break for a 4 hour shift.

How many breaks in a 5 hour shift in Ontario?

The Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) requires that all employees be granted one 30-minute meal break for every 5 consecutive hours of work.

How many breaks in an 8 hour shift in Ontario?

Under the Employment Standards Act in Ontario, an employee is entitled to one 30 minute break every 8-hour shift. This is because an employer does not need to provide a break until every fifth hour.

How many breaks in an 12 hour shift in Ontario?

Under the Employment Standards Act in Ontario, employers must provide one 30-minute break from work after every five hours of work. Employers are allowed to provide more breaks if they want, but they cannot provide less than one thirty-minute break from work after every five hours of work. This means that in a 12 hour shift you would be entitled to two thirty-minute breaks.

Coffee Breaks

The Ontario Employment Standards Act does not require an employer to provide any breaks in addition to eating periods. However, if the employer does provide another type of a break, such as a coffee break, and the employee must remain at his or her workplace during the break, this time is considered to be working time under the ESA.

Does my employer have to pay me during my break?

No, your employer is not obligated to pay you for any break time that you receive unless it is specifically set out in your contract. Additionally, a break does not count towards your daily hours worked. As a result, your employer could technically schedule you for a nine-hour shift, if they provided you with an hour unpaid lunch during the course of your shift.

Can my employer schedule my break time?

Your employer is entitled to schedule your breaks to ensure that it has adequate coverage to meet its business needs during the course of your shift. As a result, employers frequently require employees to stagger their breaks so that they don’t overlap with other employees.

Can my employer ask me to complete work during my break time?

No, an employer cannot request you to perform work during break time in Ontario. For every five hours of consecutive work, an employee is entitled to a thirty-minute break whether they pay or not.

For more information on breaks in Ontario, please check out the Employment Standards Act Guide on Hours of Work.

Is it illegal to not get a break at work in Ontario?

Yes, a company must provide an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes to an employee for every five hours of consecutive work. If the organization needs the employee to remain available during their break, they must pay them for their break period.

Monkhouse Law Employment Lawyers is a Toronto law firm specializing in employment law. If your employer is violating your right to receive a break, book a free 30 minute consultation today. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form.

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