Overtime Pay Ontario: Know Your Rights

In Ontario, overtime pay is 1.5 times an employee’s normal rate of pay for every hour worked in excess of 44 hours in a single week. This is often called being paid “time and a half”. The right to overtime pay is set out in Section 22 of the Employment Standards Act of Ontario.

Who is entitled to overtime pay in Ontario?

All employees are entitled to overtime pay in Ontario, subject to a long list of exceptions in the regulations to the Employment Standards Act. One of the main categories of employees who are exempt from overtime pay are managers and supervisors. However, to be a manager or supervisor, the eligibility for overtime pay is about form over substance. This means, even if an employee’s title is “manager”, what really matters is whether the substance of their role is truly managerial. The standard is whether or not you perform managerial functions on a regular basis.

Many professions such as law, medicine, engineering, accounting are excluded from statutory overtime pay. The full lists in the Regulations can be found in Section 2 and Section 8.

A common misconception is that overtime pay is only available to hourly employees, however this is not the case. Salaried employees are also entitled to overtime pay. The way of calculating overtime pay for salaried employees is dividing your salary by 44 hours within the week and then multiplying it by 1.5.

How is overtime pay calculated?

Overtime pay is 1.5 times the employee’s normal rate of pay for every hour worked in excess of 44 hours in a single week. This is often called being paid “time and a half”.

Another misconception is that overtime pay is only calculated using an employee’s “base” salary. However, this is not true. Overtime pay is based upon the total compensation an employee receives. If an employee is a variable compensation employee, as in an employee who is paid commission, overtime pay will be based upon commissions as well, not only base pay. Overtime should be based on your “regular pay” accounting for all compensation.

Overtime Pay Calculator – Ontario

In Ontario, the ESA stipulates that employees who have completed at least forty-four (44) hours of work in a given week are entitled to overtime pay on the additional time worked over forty-four (44) hours during said week. The overtime pay is generally assessed at 1.5x the employee’s regular wages for the hours worked in excess of forty-four (44) hours.

Unfortunately, the ESA does include a number of exemptions precluding certain classes of workers from overtime pay, such as managers, IT professionals, lawyers, firefighters, ambulance drivers, and a number of other classes of workers (for more information, please see the following guide).

Is getting paid overtime mandatory in Ontario?

Yes it is. Some companies may have policies which require you to “seek approval before working hours in excess of 44 in a week”, or something similar. Whether you received approval or not, if you worked those hours, you must be compensated with overtime pay.

Monkhouse Law’s Employment Lawyer Kevin Wisnicki explains the rights for employees regarding overtime in Ontario and when employees can ask for additional compensation for overtime pay.

Can you be forced to work overtime?

No, you cannot be forced to work overtime that is above your normal work hours, unless your contract specifically allows for it, or you have historically been asked to work overtime in the past and you have allowed it.

What should I do if I have been working overtime and not getting paid?

Numerous employees work extra hours and want to get paid for overtime, but are afraid to lose their job if they speak up.  Employers generally must keep records of the time worked by the employee each day and each week. This record-keeping requirement may facilitate a resolution of unpaid overtime.

How can employees seek their unpaid overtime?

If you believe you have been deprived of overtime pay to which you are entitled, employees can make a complaint to the Ministry of Labour. The Ministry of Labour can only issue orders going back two years in terms of recovery. For periods exceeding two years, employees may consider issuing claims in Superior Court.

Overtime claims can also be made in the context of wrongful dismissal cases before the courts.

If you have questions or concerns regarding overtime pay, you should speak with an employment lawyer to ensure you know your rights and what you are entitled to. At Monkhouse Law, we help employees deal with their workplace issues.

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