Overview of the Employee Standards Act for BC

The Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum standards that apply in most workplaces in British Columbia. The Employment Standards Branch of the Ministry of Labour administers the Act.  Here is a quick overview of the Employment Standards Act.

The Employment Standards Act focuses on a wide variety of topics including”

  • Minimum Wage
  • Minimum Daily Pay
  • Meal Breaks
  • Overtime
  • Vacation Pay
  • Employing Young People Under 15
  • Usage of Temporary Foreign Workers
  • And more

There are special rules that apply to certain industries including:

  • High Technology
  • Agriculture
  • Taxis
  • Trucking
  • Log Harvesting and
  • Oil and Gas sector

Here is a quick overview of some of the popular topics from the Employment Standards Act.

  1. Minimum Wage – The minimum wage in British Columbia is $10.25 per hour until September 15, 2015, when it increases to $10.45 per hour. Minimum Wage Fact Sheet.
  2. Minimum Daily Pay – An employee who reports for work must be paid for at least two hours, even if the employee works less than two hours. If an employee who is scheduled for more than eight hours reports for work, he or she must be paid for at least four hours.
  3. Meal Breaks – An employee must not work more than five hours in a row without a 30-minute unpaid meal break. An employee who is required to work or be available for work during a meal break must be paid for the meal break.
  4. Paydays – All employees must be paid at least twice a month. A pay period cannot be longer than 16 days.  Paying Wages Fact Sheet.
  5. Overtime – Daily overtime pay is time-and-a-half after eight hours worked in a day and double time after 12 hours worked in a day. Weekly overtime is time-and-a-half after 40 hours worked in a week. Only the first eight hours worked in a day count towards weekly overtime.  Hours of Work and Overtime Fact Sheet.
  6. Deductions – An employer must make deductions from wages required by law (e.g., income tax, EI, CPP). Other deductions may be made if the employee agrees in writing. An employer cannot deduct any of the employer’s business costs from wages. This includes cash shortages, breakage, and damage to company property or loss resulting from a customer leaving without paying.
  7. Vacation Pay – When an employee takes a vacation after completing one year of employment, vacation pay must be at least four per cent of the employee’s total earnings from the previous year. A person who is employed for less than one year is not entitled to take a vacation, but must be paid four per cent vacation pay on termination of employment.  Annual Vacation Fact Sheet.
  8. Employing People Under the Age of 15 – Before employing anyone under 15 years of age, an employer must have written consent from the employee’s parent or guardian.  Employment of Young People – A Resource Guide for Parents Fact Sheet.

The full Employment Standards Act can be read here.  Get a section by section interpretation of the Act here.

If you need assistance with your recruiting efforts or need help developing an HR Strategy contact us at 778-484-0161. Aspire Recruitment Solutions is the leading human resource solution and employment agency provider to clients in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Northern BC and Alberta. We connect great employers with the best candidates every day.