Hours of work and overtime

Employers schedule work hours for employees. Scheduling can be done every day or weeks in advance. It can be based on employee seniority or availability, or other criteria the employer chooses.

Employees must arrive ready to work the hours they are scheduled.

Standard work hours

Standard work hours are eight hours in a day and 40 hours in a week. A week is from Sunday to Saturday.

Standard work hours may be different if an employee is working under an averaging agreement or a variance.

Overtime work hours

Employees can be required to work overtime. Employees who work more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week must be paid time-and-a-half or double-time for overtime hours worked.

Minimum daily work hours

Employees must be scheduled for at least two hours of work. They must also be paid if they report to work as scheduled and there is no work for them to do.

Employers must allow time for rest each week

Scheduling hours free from work

An employee must have at least 32 hours in a row free from work each week. If an employee works during this period (e.g. because of an emergency), they must be paid extra pay.

An employee must also have at least eight hours off between shifts. If an employee works during this period, the hours are added to other hours worked in the day. This usually means the employee must be paid at overtime rates.

Example: A person who works a six-hour shift (6 am to 12 pm) five days a week is asked to work an extra four hours (2 pm to 6 pm). That gives them 10 hours for that day. They should be paid two hours at overtime rates.

Changing or cancelling shifts

Employers can change shifts at any time as long as employees have enough time free from work. Employees do not need to be paid if they are given notice of shift changes or cancellations before they report to work.

Scheduling meal and coffee breaks

Employers are not required to provide coffee breaks.

A 30-minute unpaid meal break must be provided when an employee works more than five hours in a row. The employee must be paid for the meal break if they're required to work (or be available to work) during their meal break. Working through a meal break does not always result in overtime pay.

Scheduling split shifts

A split shift divides a work day into separate periods of work. The employee's work day is the combined total of the hours worked during all of the periods.

The split shift (including breaks) must be completed within a 12-hour period.

Employees are only paid for travel time when it's directly related to their job

Travel to work

In most cases, travelling to work is a commute. It's not work – even if:

  • The employee is driving a vehicle provided by the employer
  • The employee has been picked up by the employer or another employee

Commute time is considered work if an employee:

  • Is providing a service to the employer by bringing employer-provided tools, equipment, supplies or material to the worksite
  • Is asked by the employer to pick up other employees and bring them to the worksite

Employees do not need to be paid their usual hourly rate for travel time, but they must be paid at least minimum wage.

Travel to a remote worksite

If employees are required to meet at a location and take transportation to a remote worksite, the trip from the meeting location (marshalling point) to the worksite is paid travel time.

Examples: Employees meet at the airport at 5:30 a.m. to fly into a logging site. The trip from the airport to the worksite is paid travel time.

Farm workers are picked up at a specific location and driven to the worksite. The trip from the meeting location to the worksite and back is paid travel time.

Travel between worksites

Employees are paid for the time spent going from one job site to another during their workday – this is work time. Time spent getting to the first site is unpaid commute time.

Travel out of town

Employees are paid for travel time if they are sent out of town for work.

Example: An employee who works in Burnaby is asked to attend a meeting in Kelowna. They are paid for the time spent driving or flying to and from Kelowna.

Find out what you can do

If you're having issues at work, find out what you can do: