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A Guide To The Employment Standards Act

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Employment Standards Act

Employers and employees must be aware of their employment obligations and rights, respectively. I’m sure you know that ignorance is no defense in law. Awareness begins by understanding the Employment Standards Act, which regulates workplace relations between employers and employees.

If you’re experiencing employment challenges and you need help fast, you can get a quick fix in this digital age. You can start by googling an “employment lawyer near me” and you’ll have solved the problem by a half. An employment litigator can help you resolve many employment-related problems while ensuring employees are not unfairly targeted for airing their grievances.

Also Read: Deep Short Quotes

The Employment Standards Act and Employment Rights

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) protects employees against workplace exploitation on one side and sets the standard obligations or requirements that employers must meet to sustain balanced employment relationships on the other side. In other words, the ESA regulates how employers treat their employees while providing the consequence of unfair workplace policies. However, these rules can vary by state. So, what issues does the ESA address?

  • Minimum wage
  • Working hours
  • Employment termination
  • Public holidays & mandatory rests
  • Maternal and paternal leaves
  • Severance pay.

The Employment Standards Act highlights employment rights, including:

  1. Minimum Wage

Minimum wage refers to the least wage an employee can be paid. Employees are entitled to minimum wage regardless of employment status or classification. Minimum wage is defined as the minimum amount of money an employee can survive on.

Whether the employment status is full or part-time, casual–or wage rate is hourly, commission-based, piece rate, a flat rate, or a salary, everyone is entitled to the minimum wage in America. However, some jobs are not covered by the minimum pay provisions of the ESA.

  1. Working Hours

The maximum working hours in most jurisdictions is eight hours or the number of hours in a regular workday if it extends over eight hours. Regular working hours can be extended via a written agreement between employees and employers. Subjecting employees to extended working hours automatically qualifies them for OT. Otherwise, working beyond the regular hours without pay considered labor exploitation.

The regular working hours in most states is 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week. Working hours include the time when an employee is working or when they’re not working but are within their work premise. Employees can be at the workplace without working during:

  • Eating breaks.
  • Rest breaks after working for certain hour, and it can vary by state.
  1. Termination

An employee-employer relationship is considered terminated when:

  • An employer becomes bankrupt.
  • An employee contravenes the employment contract.

Employers must give termination notices or termination benefits, or both when discharging employees who have been in employment for a minimum of three continuous months. Termination can be influenced by a specific reason or none at all. If there’s a specific reason for dismissal, it should be included under the “reasons for employment termination” in labor laws.

Terminations should not target employees unfairly–for instance, when an employee is discharged for airing their grievances. Employers should consult employers to avoid contravening employment laws and rights, attracting employment-related lawsuits, fines, or penalties.

  1. Public Holidays and Mandatory Rests

Employees are entitled to resting during public holidays, including New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Mandatory rests include annual leave, pregnancy leave, maternal leave, and paternal leave.

Employees Not Covered by the ESA

The majority of employees and employers are represented in the ESA. However, the ESA doesn’t apply to certain employees, individuals, organizations, or groups of people, such as:


  1. Employment sectors subject to federal employment law, such as the aviation industry, bankers, the federal civil service, postal service workers, the media industry, and railway employees
  2. People who are dedicated to approved programs by applied arts and technology colleges, or higher learning institution programs, like in universities.
  3. Individuals dedicated to approved programs by private career colleges registered under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005
  4. Students on work experience or attachment programs approved by their schools.
  5. Community volunteers.
  6. Police officers.
  7. Inmates enrolled in rehabilitation programs or convicts whose punishment involves labor/ hard labor.
  8. Politicians, Legal professionals, religious leaders, elected trade unionists.
  9. Junior hockey players who qualify for a scholarship.

Traits of Competent Lawyers

The following are some common traits that competent employment lawyers must possess:

  • Great Communication Skills
  • Widely experienced
  • Good reputation and positive reviews by past clients.
  • A high success rate in past assignments.
  • Commitment
  • Listening skills

Employment attorneys offer their services to both employers and employees. Employment rights are a priority to employees while employers should be aware of their obligations. You should consult employment lawyers to safeguard your interests, whether an employer or employee.

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