What is the Employment Standards Act (ESA)?

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) is an Act of the Legislature of Ontario, which states the minimum employment standards for workers in this province. It is legislation that sets the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in the workplace. There are some workers that who are exempt from the ESA, such as, workers in federally-regulated industries; however, the Act covers most workers in Ontario.

What can employers find in the Employment Standards Act?

The ESA provides a wide range of employment standards. This is an important resource for employers to understand what is legal and illegal as it relates to operating your business. In the ESA, employers can reference the legal terms and conditions of employment around:

  • Hours of Work
  • Wages and Overtime Pay
  • Minimum Wage
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work
  • Pregnancy and Parental Leave
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Benefit Plans
  • Public Holidays
  • Vacation Time and Pay
  • Termination and Severance of Employment
  • Temporary Layoffs
  • Liabilities
  • Complaints and Enforcement
  • Offences and Prosecution
  • Temporary Help Agencies

The ESA is a useful tool to reference when creating a contract of employment or to guide your employee handbook. Employers are required to display the Employment Standards poster in the workplace, and also to make sure that all workers covered by the ESA receive a copy of the poster.

Reading the Employment Standards Act is time consuming and often takes a legal background to understand the exact language and meaning of terms used. Keep in mind, it is important to know your obligations and responsibilities as an employer, as the regulations apply specifically to businesses operating in Ontario.

Need help understanding the rules and regulations of the Employment Standards Act?

Let Employer Line answer your questions when it comes to employer advice, employment rights, or a human resources concern. Together with Peninsula, we have the resources to help your business grow – whether that be an employer guide or HR advice. Call our complimentary 24/7 employer helpline and speak to one of our HR experts right away – 1(833) 247-3650.