Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations


ESR Section 1 – Definitions – Manager


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section contains definitions for terms that arise throughout the Regulations.

Text of Legislation

"manager" means

(a) a person whose principal employment duties consist of supervising or directing, or both supervising and directing, human or other resources, or

(b) a person employed in an executive capacity;

Policy Interpretation

Subsection (a)

For purposes of this section, a “manager” includes employees whose principal responsibility is the supervision and/or direction of “human resources” (i.e., employees or contractors), or “other resources” (financial and material resources).

Principal employment responsibilities”

Employment responsibilities of a manager include where the person exercises authority and discretion while performing certain actions or roles on behalf of the employer, and is personally accountable for the results. Accountability in this context is linked to the employer’s business objectives as opposed to the routine completion of a task. It is essential for the definition of “manager” that the responsibility that the employee has is principal to his/her employment.

A conclusion about whether the principal employment responsibilities consist of supervising and/or directing employees, or other resources, depends on a total characterization of that person’s responsibilities, and may include, but is not limited to:

  • the amount of time spent supervising and directing;
  • the person's employment duties and the reasons for them;
  • the degree to which the person exercises management power and authority and its impact on the business;
  • the priority placed on the responsibilities by the employer; and
  • the nature and size of the business.

"Supervising and/or Directing"

If a person is performing either supervising or directing functions as his or her principal employment duties he or she will be considered a manager. Supervising and/or directing describes the function of overseeing and controlling activities of staff and business resources and accountable for the outcome of such activities including, but not limited to, responsibility for:

  • hiring, supervising, evaluating, disciplining and terminating staff;
  • directing what work is to be done, how it is to be completed, when it is to be completed and being accountable for the outcome of such work (i.e. monitoring and evaluation);
  • developing, delivering, and evaluating programs and services
  • leading projects including strategic planning, budgeting, project monitoring and evaluation;
  • committing and/or authorizing the use of company resources;
  • preparing, delivering and evaluating business and marketing plans; and
  • developing, monitoring, and evaluating financial plans including budgets, cost estimates and tenders.

“Other resources” of the employer include:

  • financial resources including budget planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation; and
  • material resources including product or services, research and development, and marketing.


    Ally works for a large retail chain as a Pharmacy Manager. The retail chain hires the employees she supervises. Ally is not a pharmacist but is responsible and accountable for supervising and directing the day-to-day activities of the department including staff. She is in charge of merchandising, advertising, budget and policy development and other administrative functions related to the operation of the pharmacy.

    Ally is a manager as defined in this section.


    Pat, a project leader for a corporation, is responsible and accountable for overseeing a contract to implement a new computer system including the purchase and installation of computer equipment. Pat has no employees reporting to her but is responsible for a large budget including the monitoring and evaluation of financial status reports while reporting to the executive vice president in charge of project management.

    Pat is a manager as defined in this section.

Lead Hand or Shift Supervisor

An employee working as a lead hand or shift supervisor is usually not considered to be a “manager” because, while they may supervise the work of other employees on their particular shift, it generally is not their principal responsibility. In such instances they are generally not given the authority to determine staffing levels, discipline staff or commit company resources.


Erwin is hired as a shift supervisor in a fast food outlet. While he spends most of his time serving customers and taking cash, he is also in charge of three or four other employees. As shift supervisor, Erwin assigns duties from a list of routine tasks, deals with customer complaints, calls in staff to fill in for staff absences, balances the cash at the end of the shift and locks the restaurant. Erwin sometimes assists in interviewing job applicants but is not responsible for choosing who will be hired.

While Erwin spends some time supervising staff, his principal duty is serving customers. He does not have sole responsibility for disciplining nor does the employee had a large degree of discretion to change work routines, decide on staffing levels or alter shift schedules.

Erwin is not a manager as defined in this section.

Subsection (2)

“Executive capacity” includes:

The exercise of substantial authority in making key decisions critical to the business such as:

  • how many employees are to be employed.
  • what product should be purchased or produced.
  • what services should be provided.
  • from whom should supplies be purchased.
  • at what price should products be sold.

Duties that involve active participation in the control, supervision, and administration of business affairs.

A person employed in an executive capacity is considered to be a “controlling mind” of the business. They need not be the owner. They may have titled such as General Manager, Manager of Operations, comptroller, or Director.

Job title or payment method does not define “manager”:

The fact that a person is classified as a manager, or is identified by other employees as one, does not of itself mean that the person is a manager. The form of payment (salary, hourly wage, commission) is not necessarily indicative of a “manager”.

Manager may be entitled to extra pay for extra work:

Although a manager is excluded from the hours of work and overtime provisions of the Act, they are entitled to be paid for all hours worked, according to their terms of employment. In some cases this could result in a manager being entitled to additional compensation. Where there is evidence to support findings that the employer and the employee agreed that a specific number of hours of work would be compensated by a specific amount of wages, the employee would be entitled to extra wages for the extra time worked based on their regular rate of pay.


Bill, a "manager", accepts an offer to work for $50,000 a year. Part of the agreement is that the annual salary is to cover all hours worked. Generally speaking, Bill works 45 hours a week. During the spring, he works 55 hours a week.

Bill is not entitled to extra pay for the additional hours worked as he agreed to be paid the $50,000 a year regardless of the number of hours worked. If he had agreed to work for $50,000 a year based on a 45 hour work week, Bill may have been entitled to further compensation.

Exclusions from the Employment Standards Act

Under s.36 of the Employment Standards Regulation, a “manager” is excluded from Statutory Holidays.

Under s.34(f) of the Employment Standards Regulation, a “manager” is excluded from the hours of work and overtime requirements of the Act.

Related Information

Employment Standards Tribunal Decisions

F.S.I. Culvert Inc. BC EST#D301/97

Dusty Investments Inc. operating as Honda North, BC EST#D43/99

Kamloops Golf and Country Club Limited,BC EST#D278/01

429485 B.C. Limited Operating Amelia Street Bistro; BC EST #D479/97

Northland Properties Ltd., BC EST #D423/98

Executive Capacity : Benny’s Bagels Ltd. BC EST#D387/98

Terri McConkey, BC EST#D417/99

Extra hours extra pay: BC EST #404/98 and #383/02

Related sections of the Act or Regulation




See Employment Standards Factsheets


Statutory Holiday Dates

Statutory Holidays