The Employment Standards Act provides that employers and employees may jointly apply for a variance of certain provisions of the Act to provide more flexibility in the workplace. The resulting work schedules may not strictly meet the requirements of the Act but must be consistent with the intent of the Act.

The director’s delegate who is reviewing a variance application will ensure that:

  • A majority of employees who will be affected are aware of the application and approve of it; and
  • The variance is not inconsistent with the purposes of the Act, including promoting fair treatment of employees and employers, and assisting employees to meet work and family responsibilities.

For further information on variances:

Follow this link to the Interpretation Guidelines Manual.  Sections relevant to variances are 2, 4, 72, 73 and Regulation section 30.

Applications for a variance are made by way of a letter from the employer and a majority of the employees who will be affected.

Not all adjustments to work schedules require a variance. Some changes may be made by way of a written agreement between an employer and an affected employee. For further information see the Averaging Agreements Factsheet.