Limitation on 60-hour work week to become law in March

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Bill 63, which amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to place limitations on the 60-hour work week, was passed by the Ontario legislature on December 9, 2004. FOCUS alerts reported on the Bill’s first reading (see “Ontario Bill 63 amends ESA to limit 60-hour work week”). Some changes were made to the Bill in Committee. Most of these reflect a change to the date on which the Bill is to become law, which is now March 1, 2005.

One result of the new coming-into-force date is that approvals granted under the current legislation that permit employees to work more than 60 hours will now cease to have effect on March 1, 2005, rather than on January 1, 2005. As well, we previously reported that an agreement to work extra hours entered into under the current legislation would be valid but that the employer would have to provide non-unionized employees bound by the agreement with a document produced by the Ministry of Labour outlining employees’ rights in respect of hours of work by April 1, 2005. This date has now been shifted to June 1, 2005.

Employers will be able to apply for approval of work hours of more than 48 hours a week and of agreements to average an employee’s work hours over a two-week period to determine entitlement to overtime pay. A variety of resources, including an employer’s guide to the process for applying for Ministry approval, are available at the Ministry’s website at http://www.gov.on.ca/LAB/english/es/hours/index.html.

For further information, please contact Colleen Dunlop at (613) 940-2734.