Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT - PART 4 - HOURS OF WORK AND OVERTIME

ESA Section 34 – Minimum daily hours


Contents:

Summary
Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


Summary

This section outlines the minimum hours of work an employee must be paid for if they report to work as scheduled, regardless of whether or not they start work. 


Text of Legislation

34. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), if as required by an employer an employee reports for work on any day, the employer must pay the employee for a minimum of 2 hours at the regular wage whether or not the employee starts work, unless the employee is unfit to work or fails to comply with Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act, or a regulation under that Part.

(2) Whether or not the employee starts work, the employer under subsection (1) must pay the employee for a minimum of 4 hours at the employee's regular wage if the employer had previously scheduled the employee to work for more than 8 hours that day, unless

(a) the employee is unfit to work or fails to comply with Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act, or a regulation under that Part, or

(b) the work is suspended for reasons completely beyond the employer's control, including unsuitable weather conditions.

(3) If the circumstance set out in subsection (2) (b) applies, the employer must pay the employee for a minimum of 2 hours at the employee's regular wage.

(4) If

(a) the employee under subsection (1) is required to work longer than 2 hours, or

(b) the circumstances described in subsection (2) are applicable and the employee is required to work longer than 4 hours,

the employer must pay the employee for the entire period the employee is required to work.


Policy Interpretation

Subsection (1)

An employee who reports to work, as required by an employer, must be paid for a minimum number of hours. The minimum daily pay requirements apply when an employee reports to work, whether or not the employee starts work. The minimum requirements depend on the number of hours the employee had previously been scheduled to work on that day as follows:

An employee who is scheduled for 8 hours or less, must be paid for a minimum of 2 hours even if the employee works less than 2 hours

Example

A grocery store employee reports to work for a 4 hour shift. The manager sends the employee home before she starts work because the store is not busy. The employee is entitled to be paid for 2 hours minimum daily pay.

If, in the above situation, an employee worked longer than 2 hours before being sent home, under subsection (4), they must be paid for actual hours worked.

The minimum daily pay requirements do not apply when an employee who is scheduled to work 8 hours or less is:

  • unfit to work
  • fails to comply with Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act.

When an employee has been sent home due to these circumstances, if they had started work, they are entitled to be paid for actual time worked and if they had not started work they would not be entitled to wages under the Act.

Subsection (2)(a)

An employee who is scheduled for more than 8 hours, must be paid for a minimum of 4 hours even if the employee works less than 4 hours.

Example

Amy, a drugstore employee, reports to work for a 10-hour shift, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. At 10:00 am Amy is sent home because stock delivery is delayed. The employee is entitled to receive 4 hours minimum daily pay.

The minimum daily pay requirements do not apply when an employee who is scheduled to work more than 8 hours is:

  • unfit to work
  • fails to comply with Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act.

When an employee has been sent home due to these circumstances, if they had started work, they are entitled to be paid for actual hours worked and if they had not started work they would not be entitled to wages under the Act.

Subsections (2)(b) and (3)

When an employee who was scheduled for more than 8 hours is sent home by the employer for reasons that are completely beyond the employer’s control, including unsuitable weather conditions, the employee is entitled to be paid for the actual hours worked, or the 2-hour minimum, whichever is the greater.

Example

A golf course employee reports to work for a 10-hour shift, from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, with a one hour lunch break. At 7:00 am the employee is sent home because of unsuitable weather. The employee is entitled to receive 2 hours minimum daily pay according to subsection (3)

Subsection (4)

This subsection ensures that employees are paid the greater of actual time worked or the minimum daily pay they are entitled to depending on the circumstances described above.

Employee requests

If an employee asks to leave work before working the minimum daily hours under this section and the employer agrees, the employer is only required to pay the employee for the actual time worked. The employer must be able to show that the employee initiated the request to leave work early, and that the employee was not merely accommodating a request made by the employer.

Variances

Under s.72 an employer and any of its employees may join in a written application to the director to vary the provisions of s.34.

Employees covered by a collective agreement

Under s.3 of the Act, where a collective agreement contains any provision respecting hours of work or overtime, the provisions of this section do not apply. If a collective agreement does not contain any provision respecting hours of work or overtime, Part 4 except s.37 is deemed to be incorporated in the collective agreement as part of its terms.

Where there is a collective agreement, the enforcement of matters relating to hours of work or overtime is through the grievance procedure, not through the enforcement provisions of the Act.

Certain employees are exempt from this Section, or Part 4 entirely, under the Employment Standards Regulation.


Related Information

Related sections of the Act or Regulation

ESA

ESR

Other

See Employment Standards Factsheets

Factsheet

Hours of Work and Overtime

Restaurant Employees

Collective Agreements and the Employment Standards Act

Variances