Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations


ESR Section 1 – Definitions – Residential Care Worker


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section contains definitions for terms used throughout the Employment Standards Regulation.

Text of Legislation

"residential care worker" means a person who

(a) is employed to supervise or care for anyone in a group home or family type residential dwelling, and

(b) is required by the employer to reside on the premises during periods of employment,

but does not include a foster parent, live-in home support worker, domestic or night attendant;

Policy Interpretation

Definitions under the Employment Standards Regulation are interpreted narrowly because they take away benefits and protection conferred by the Act. All employment conditions, as described in the definition, must be met in order to qualify as a “residential care worker”.

A residential care worker must be employed to:

  • • supervise or care for anyone in a group home or family type residential dwelling; and
  • • must reside on the premises during periods of employment

For purposes of this definition, “resides” refers to the “usual and normal domicile of the person”. In this case, where the employee lives as opposed to stays while working.


Rod is required by his employer to work from Monday to Thursday, on a 24-hour basis, in a group home for troubled teens. He provides counselling and supervises the preparation of meals and clean-up. The employee works a pattern of 4 days on followed by 4 days off. He is provided with a personal bedroom and bathroom in the group home to stay in while working. During his days off the employee returns to his own home.

This employee is not a residential care worker because, although he is required to stay on the premises during the course of his shifts and he is employed to care for and supervise persons in a group home, the group home is not where the employee resides. In order for the employee to meet the definition of a Residential Care Worker they must reside in the group home or a family type dwelling for the whole duration of their employment, not just during a series of work shifts.

Exclusion from certain sections of Act

Section 34(x) of the Regulation excludes a “residential care worker” from the hours of work and overtime provisions of Part 4 of the Act.

Rest periods

Under s.22 of the Regulation there are special rules regarding rest periods for a residential care worker.

Personal care attendants

Under the Employment Standard Act and Regulation, there are several different categories of employees who provide care and home services. Under the definition of “residential care worker” certain persons are specifically excluded from the category of “residential care worker”. They include:

  • “domestic” (See s.1, Employment Standards Act)
  • “live-in home support worker” (See s.1of the Employment Standards Regulation)
  • “night attendant” (See s.1of the Employment Standards Regulation)
  • “sitter” (See s.1of the Employment Standards Regulation)
  • foster parent

    A “foster parent” is considered to be a person charged with the responsibility of caring for a child while that child is in the custody of the Superintendent of Family and Child Services. The Director is of the view that foster parents are members of the community who are performing a civic service by providing a home to a child or children in certain circumstances and conditions, for which they receive allowances to defray the cost of associated with this service. They are not, in her view, employees within the meaning of the Act.

Related Information