Hours of work
There are limits to the number of hours employees can work in a day and in a week. Employees can agree in writing to work more hours to meet your business needs, but if the extra hours exceed the weekly limit, approval by the Ministry of Labour is required. To learn more about hours of work rules, visit Ontario.ca/ESAguide and click on “Hours of Work”.
Certain industries and job categories are exempt from the hours of work rules set out in the ESA. For more information please refer to the Special Rule Tool, available at Ontario.ca/ESAtools.
Daily and Weekly Limits on Hours of Work
The maximum number of hours most employees can be required to work in a day is eight hours or the number of hours in an established regular workday, if it is longer than eight hours. The only way the daily maximum can be exceeded is by written agreement between the employee and employer.
The maximum number of hours most employees can be required to work in a week is 48 hours. The weekly maximum can be exceeded only if there is a written agreement between the employee and employer and the employer has received the approval of the Director of Employment Standards. However, the ESA provides a limited exception where an application for approval is pending. If, after 30 days after serving an application for excess hours on the Director, the employer has not received an approval or notice of refusal, the employer may require employees to start working more than 48 hours as long as certain conditions are met including, the employee does not work more than 60 hours in a work week or the number of hours the employee agreed to in writing, whichever is less.
An agreement between an employee and an employer to work additional daily or weekly hours, or an approval from the Director of Employment Standards for excess weekly hours, does not relieve an employer from the requirement to pay overtime pay where overtime hours are worked.