Ontario’s Working Hours

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) states that the number of working hours an employer can legally require an employee to do is:

  • 8 hours in a day
  • 48 hours in a work week

Any exceptions to these working hours, such as overtime, must be  outlined in an employee contract to which the employee agrees to a specified number of hours per day or in a work week. It is a best practice to document all employee rights set at the beginning of employment, or as soon as changes are made to their hours of work. Legally, an employer must:

  • Provide an employee with a copy of the most recent document published
  • Obtain written acknowledgment that the employee agrees to the changes provided in the document

Resting and Eating Periods

In addition to following the legal constraints of working hours, employees are entitled to resting and eating periods. As an employer, you must provide:

  • 11 consecutive hours off work each day (24-hours)
  • 8 hours off work between shifts
  • 24 consecutive hours off work each work week (or 48 consecutive hours off work in every period of two consecutive work weeks)

With this, it is an employee’s right to take a 30-minute eating period, after working no more than five hours of work. Alternatively, this break can be split into two 15 minute periods over every five hours of work. This can only be done if there is an oral or written agreement in place, between the employer and employee.

How many working hours are your employees clocking in?

If you’re unsure how to manage hours of work, or simply have questions about the ESA as it relates to working hours, call Employer Line to speak with our HR experts at Peninsula. We’re here to help. Our employer advice line is available to call 24/7 at 1(833) 247-3650.