Does my employer have to give me a schedule or minimum hours of work?

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) has minimum standards that employers must follow. This includes rules about the maximum number of hours you have to work and breaks.

But there is no rule about when your employer has to give you your work schedule. And there is no rule that says they have to give you a minimum number of hours of work.

The “3-hour” rule

There is a rule about getting paid for at least 3 hours when you work. This rule applies only if you have regular work hours that are longer than 3 hours a day.

The 3 hours could be all in a row or could be worked in a split shift.

The rule says that you have to be paid for at least 3 hours even if you work less than 3 hours in a day. For example, your employer might send you home early because business is slow.

When the rule does not apply

The rule does not apply if:

  • you’re a superintendent, janitor, or caretaker for a building where you live,
  • you regularly work shifts that are less than 3 hours, or
  • work stops because of something outside your employer’s control, like a power failure or a fire.

And the rule does not apply to students who:

  • work at a children’s camp, work instructing or supervising children, or work in a recreational program run by a charity, and
  • do not also work as a wilderness guide.
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