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Work hours and overtime pay

Are you working more than an eight-hour workday? You may be entitled to overtime pay. Many people are not aware of the rules and regulations that dictate how many regular hours a person may work and when additional hours become overtime.

The government of Canada and the individual provinces and territories all have legislation that sets out how many hours employees can work and how overtime is to be handled.

Federal regulations

Federal regulations for hours of work and overtime apply to all federally regulated employees only.

Hours of work

The standard hours of work for federal employees are:

  • Eight hours in a day (any period of 24 consecutive hours)
  • 40 hours in a week (the period between midnight on Saturday and midnight on the Saturday that immediately follows)

The maximum allowable work hours per week are set at 48 hours. Federal employees are also entitled to one full rest for each week and during holidays the standard work hours are reduced by eight hours per day.

Overtime

Anything that exceeds the standard hours of work for federal employees is considered overtime.

Overtime pay at a rate of a minimum of 1.5 times the regular hourly wage for those hours would apply, with the following exceptions:

  • Managers and professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, architects and engineers, are exempt from overtime.

Provincial regulations

Generally, the rules for work hours and overtime don’t vary much from the federal standard. Each province and territory has their own employment standards act, or similar rules and regulations by which employers must abide. Though the rules and allowable times are similar from one province to the next they are not necessarily the same and you should consult with the employment standards act for your province or territory.

For example, in Saskatchewan the allowable work hours per week are 44 hours. The employee can agree to do more hours than that but cannot be punished if he or she refuses.

Also, daily work hours in Saskatchewan may be set at either eight or 10 hours.

Overtime pay begins at 40 hours per week and the rate is 1.5 times the hourly rate.

If an employee is on salary, then the salaried wage must be converted to hourly in order to figure out what the overtime pay should be.

If there is a public holiday during a weekday, then the employee doesn’t have to work more than 36 hours per week during that week (assuming the holiday is only one day during the week). Overtime pay then starts at 32 hours.

Employers can organize the 40-hour week around one of two daily limits: 

  • Five, eight-hour days; or
  • Four, 10-hour days.

Read more:

Hours of Work Government of Canada

General Overtime Information Saskatchewan