- Issued: August 2008
- Content last reviewed: January 2018
What is the purpose of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 ()?
The Employment Standards Act, 2000 () sets out the rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers in Ontario workplaces. It also contains provisions that apply to people who are seeking employment with temporary help agencies and, in some cases, to clients of such agencies, even though the client business is not the employer of the person filing a claim under the .
What is the Employment Standards Act, 2000?
The Employment Standards Act, 2000 () sets out minimum rights for most employees in Ontario workplaces. It includes standards on payment of wages, public holidays, hours of work, overtime pay, vacation time and pay, statutory leaves, and termination and severance entitlements. If you are an employee working in Ontario, you are probably covered by the . However, some employees are not covered by the and some employees who are covered by the have special rules and/or exemptions that may apply to them. For more information, see the Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
What are homeworkers?
Homeworkers are employees who do paid work out of their own homes for an employer (e.g., online research, preparing food for resale, sewing, telephone soliciting, manufacturing, word processing).
Independent contractors are not homeworkers under the .
Are homeworkers the same as domestic workers?
No, homeworkers are not the same as domestic workers. Homeworkers do paid work out of their own homes for an employer. In contrast, domestic workers work in a private home directly for the person who owns or rents the home. They do things such as housekeeping and cooking, or provide care, supervision or personal assistance to children or people who are elderly, ill or disabled.
Here is an example of the difference between homeworkers and domestic workers: employees who prepare food at home for resale by their employer are homeworkers, but employees who prepare food in a private residence for the people living there to eat are domestic workers.
What rights do homeworkers have under the ?
Homeworkers are eligible for:
- minimum wage
- regular payment of wages
- wages are paid for a recurring pay period on a recurring pay day, and
- written wage statements are provided for each pay.
- written job details
- hours of work protections (i.e., maximum hours of work, and daily and weekly/biweekly rest periods)
- overtime pay
- vacation with pay
- public holidays
- pregnancy and parental leave
- personal emergency leave
- family caregiver leave
- family medical leave
- critical illness leave/li>
- organ donor leave
- reservist leave
- crime-related child disappearance leave
- child death leave
- domestic or sexual violence leave
- notice of termination
- notice of termination of assignment (applies to assignment employees of a temporary help agency)
- severance pay
- equal pay for equal work
Changes in the law that came into force on May 20, 2015 required all employers, including those employing homeworkers, to provide their current employees with a copy of the ministry’s Employment Standards Poster by June 19, 2015. Any homeworkers hired on or after May 20, 2015 must be provided with a copy of the poster within 30 days of the date of hire.
If an employee requests a copy of the poster in a language other than English and the ministry has published a version in that language, the employer must provide the translated version in addition to the English copy.
The poster is available in English, French and 10 other languages.
Note: there are rules about qualifying for some of the protections listed above.
For information please see Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
What is the minimum wage rate for homeworkers?
Minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage an employer can pay employees. There is a special minimum wage rate for homeworkers that is higher than the general minimum wage rate. A homeworker is entitled to a minimum wage rate of $15.40 per hour.
Full-time and part-time homeworkers are entitled to this rate. Students of any age who are employed as homeworkers must also be paid the homeworkers' minimum wage.
The table below sets out the general minimum wage and the homeworkers' minimum wage rates:
|Minimum Wage Rate||January 1, 2018|
|General Minimum Wage||$14 per hour|
|Homeworkers' Minimum Wage||$15.40 per hour|
If homeworkers are paid piece-work rate, how do they know whether they are receiving the equivalent of minimum wage?
The amount that a homeworker is paid must be at least equal to minimum wage. Homeworkers who are paid on a piece-work rate – a way of calculating pay that is based on the amount of work an employee completes, and not on the hours worked – can calculate whether they are being paid at least the minimum wage in the following way:
Take the total amount earned over the pay period and divide it by the number of hours worked in the same period for an average hourly rate. Compare that amount to the homeworkers' minimum wage rate in effect over that same pay period. (If overtime hours were worked, the calculation is more complicated.)
A homeworker received $240.75 as piece-work pay for the pay period January 2 to January 8, 2018 as payment for 25 hours of work in that pay period. The homeworker received the equivalent of $9.63 an hour in that pay period but the homeworkers’ minimum wage rate in effect from January 1, 2018 was $15.40.
Based on the homeworkers' minimum wage, the employee should have earned at least $385.00
Result: The employer must therefore pay an additional $144.25 to the employee ($385.00 minus $240.75).
Please see "What written job details must an employer give a homeworker?" (below) for information on the requirement that homeworkers' wage statements include the amount of the piece-work rate(s).
What written job details must an employer give a homeworker?
Certain requirements apply only to homeworkers. Employers must advise homeworkers in writing of:
- the type of work they are being employed to perform,
- the amount to be paid for an hour of work in a regular work week if the homeworker is to be paid by the number of hours worked,
- where the homeworker is to be paid by the number of articles or things manufactured:
- the amount to be paid for each article or thing manufactured in a regular work week
- the number of articles or things to be completed by a certain date or time if the employer requires a certain number to be completed by a certain date or time,
- an explanation of how pay will be determined when the homeworker is being paid on some other basis.
 "Manufacture" includes preparation, improvement, repair, alteration, assembly or completion.
Employers must keep detailed records of hours worked, wages and deductions. They must give all employees a written wage statement with each pay that shows the full details of the pay period.
The written wage statement must set out:
- the pay period for which the wages are being paid
- the wage rate, if there is one
- the gross amount of wages and, unless the employee is given the information in some other manner, such as in an employment contract, how the gross wages were calculated
- the amount and purpose of each deduction from the wages
- the net amount of wages.
What kind of information must employers keep?
Employers who employ homeworkers are required to keep a register containing the name, address and wage rate(s) of the homeworker. This must be kept for three years after the homeworker has stopped working for the employer.
In addition, all employers in Ontario, including anyone who employs homeworkers, must keep written records about each person they hire.
Employee records can be retained either by employers or by someone else on their behalf, but must be readily available for inspection. The period of retention varies depending on the information. For example, the employee's name, address and starting date must be retained for three years after the employee ceases to be employed by that employer. The number of hours the employee worked in each day and each week must be retained for three years after the day or week in question.
Each employee's written record must contain:
- the employee's name, address and starting date of employment
- the date of birth if the employee is a student under 18 years of age
- the times and hours worked by the employee each day and week (see Exception to the rule: hours of work records later in this fact sheet)
Note: It is suggested that employees also keep a record of the hours they work and number of items they complete each day.
- if the employee has two or more regular rates of pay, and the employee performed work for the employer in excess of the overtime threshold, the dates and times the employee worked in excess of the overtime threshold and the rate of pay for each overtime hour worked, must be recorded. These records must be kept for three years.
- information contained in the employee's wage statements
- all documents relating to pregnancy, parental, personal emergency, family caregiver, family medical, critical illness, child care, organ donor, reservist, or crime-related child death or disappearance, child death, domestic or sexual violence leave
- the employer must keep records of the vacation pay paid to the employee during the vacation entitlement year (or stub period, if any) and how that vacation pay was calculated. The employer must also keep records of the vacation pay earned by the employee during the vacation entitlement year and how the amount was calculated. These records must be kept for five years
- if a day is substituted for a public holiday, the employer must provide the employee with a written statement containing the public holiday which is being substituted, the date of the day that is substituted for the holiday, and the date on which the statement is provided to the employee. The employer must retain a record of the information contained on the statement for three years.
Note: An employee is entitled to information about his or her vacation time and pay entitlement once with respect to each completed vacation entitlement year or stub period, on written request to the employer. For more information please refer to the Vacation chapter of Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Exception to the rule: hours of work records
If an employee receives a fixed salary for each pay period, and the salary doesn't change unless the employee works overtime, the employer is only required to record:
- the employee's hours in excess of those hours in the employee's regular work week, and
- the number of hours in excess of eight per day – or in excess of the hours in the employee's regular work day, if that's more than eight hours.
What if the employer does not follow the ?
If an employee thinks the employer is not complying with the , he or she can call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 416-326-7160 or toll free at 1-800-531-5551 for more information about the and how to file a complaint. Complaints are investigated by an employment standards officer who can, if necessary, make orders against an employer—including an order to comply with the . The ministry has a number of other options to enforce the , including requesting voluntary compliance, issuing an order to pay wages, an order to reinstate and/or compensate /or a notice of contravention, or issuing a ticket or otherwise prosecuting the employer under the Provincial Offences Act.
For more information or to file a claim
If you have questions about the , call the Ministry of Labour's Employment Standards Information Centre at 416-326-7160, toll free at 1-800-531-5551, or 1-866-567-8893. Information is available in multiple languages.
Information on the can also be found at the Employment Standards section of the Ministry of Labour's website.
To file a claim, you can access the Employment Standards claim form online.
To access the Employment Standards Act, 2000 visit the Ontario government e-Laws website.
Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help employees and employers understand some of the minimum rights and obligations established under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 () and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the or regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation. Although we endeavor to ensure that the information in this resource is as current and accurate as possible, errors do occasionally occur. The provides minimum standards only. Some employees may have greater rights under an employment contract, collective agreement, the common law or other legislation. Employers and employees may wish to obtain legal advice.
The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights –Read a general summary of the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.
Frequently Asked Questions
General QuestionsWho is a domestic worker under the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights?
You are a domestic worker if you provide services related to the care of people in the home, or maintain private households or their premises. Domestic workers include nannies, childcare providers, caregivers and personal attendants, housekeepers, cooks, and other household workers.
A personal attendant is someone employed by a private householder or any third party employer recognized in the health care industry to work in a private household. Duties of a personal attendant include supervising, feeding, and dressing a child or person who needs assistance due to advanced age, physical disability, or mental deficiency.
If a domestic worker spends more than 20 percent of his or her time performing work other than supervising, feeding, and dressing a child or person who needs supervision, he or she is not considered a personal attendant. Domestic workers who are NOT personal attendants are entitled to overtime under Wage Order No. 15 (see Question 4 below: “What overtime protections apply to domestic workers who are NOT personal attendants?”).
- Personal attendant duties include feeding, bathing, dressing, and direct supervision of any person under care.
- Non-attendant duties include making beds, housecleaning, cooking, laundry, or other duties related to the maintenance of a private household or the premises.
Personal attendants are entitled to overtime (1.5 x regular rate of pay) for any hours worked over nine (9) hours per day or over 45 hours per week, unless they are excluded employees or the employer is excluded under the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.
- Excluded Employees consist of
- family members (parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, or child of the employer)
- someone under the age of 18 employed as a babysitter to a minor
- anyone who is a “casual babysitter” (meaning someone who babysits on an irregular or intermittent basis and is not a babysitter by vocation)
- anyone who provides services to the developmentally disabled through a state or regional center voucher program
- anyone who provides child care pursuant to certain child care acts (the Child Care and Development Services Act of the Education Code or the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act of the Welfare and Institutions Code)
- Excluded Employers consist of
- domestic worker registry or referral agencies that satisfy the requirements of Civil Code section 1812.5095 and Unemployment Insurance Code section 687.2 (specifically, such a referral agency must meet all the requirements of the Civil Code as solely a referral agency)
- licensed health care facilities
- clients overseeing or receiving services under the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program
The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights defines “domestic work employer” as any person, including corporate officers and executives, who directly or through an agent (such as temp services, staffing agencies, and the like), employs or controls wages, hours, and working conditions of domestic workers.
If you work in the home but you are NOT a personal attendant, then you are not covered by the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. However, regular overtime protections apply under Wage Order No. 15, which sets overtime protections for domestic workers who are not personal attendants. There are different overtime protections depending on the type of work performed:
- Non-live-in domestic workers who are not personal attendants are entitled to overtime (1.5 x the regular rate of pay) for hours worked over eight (8) in a day or 40 regular hours in a workweek; overtime for the first eight (8) hours on the seventh consecutive day of the workweek; double time (2 x the regular rate of pay) for hours worked over 12 in a day; and double time for hours worked over eight (8) on the seventh consecutive day of the workweek.
- Live-in domestic workers who are not personal attendants are entitled to overtime for hours worked over nine (9) in a day and for the first nine (9) hours worked on the sixth and seventh consecutive day of the workweek. Live-in employees are entitled to double time (2 x the regular rate of pay) for hours worked over nine (9) hours on the sixth and seventh consecutive day of workweek.
Summary table: overtime for domestic workers
|IF YOU ARE…||THEN YOU ARE ENTITLED TO…||UNDER THIS LAW…|
A personal attendant employed in a private household
> 9 hours/day
Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
Other type of domestic worker (not a personal attendant)
> 8 hours/day
> 12 hours/day
Wage Order No. 15
> 9 hours/day
> 9 hours on the 6th or 7th day of the week
Wage Order No. 15
Personal attendants who do not work in the home are not covered under the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Their employment may be governed under Wage Order No. 5, which governs the public housekeeping industry, including hospitals, sanitariums, rest homes, child nurseries and care institutions, homes for the aged, and similar establishments offering board or lodging in addition to medical, surgical, nursing, convalescent, aged, or child care.
Under Wage Order No. 5, a personal attendant is an employee hired by a non-profit organization to supervise, dress, or feed a child or an adult with disability or advanced age.
Personal attendants employed by non-profit institutions under Wage Order No. 5 are only entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week or for any hours worked on the 7th consecutive day of the workweek. Personal attendants under Wage Order No. 5 are not entitled to double-time compensation.
Note that workers in the public housekeeping industry who devote more than 20% of their time to duties other than the work of a personal attendant are not considered personal attendants under this wage order. This specific subcategory of domestic workers is entitled to normal overtime protections (as specified in the Wage Order No. 5): overtime pay (1.5 x the regular rate of pay) for hours worked in excess of eight (8) hours in a day or 40 regular hours in a week. They are also entitled to double time (2 x the regular rate of pay) for hours worked over 12 in a day or for hours worked over eight (8) on the seventh consecutive day of the workweek (in addition to regular overtime for the first eight (8) hours worked on the seventh consecutive day).
Calculating overtime pay ratesAre domestic workers entitled to the minimum wage?
Yes. Domestic workers are entitled to the minimum wage, with the exception of babysitters under the age of 18 and the employer’s parent, spouse, or child. The Labor Commissioner enforces the California minimum wage. The Labor Commissioner may enforce local minimum wage laws if the work is performed in a city and/or county that has a higher minimum wage ordinance.
Yes. Meal and lodging credits can be applied. However, an employer must abide by the limits specified in Wage Order No. 15. That is, meals or lodging may only be credited against the minimum wage if the employer and the employee enter into a voluntary written agreementbefore the work is performed. (This requirement applies to all types of domestic workers.)
July 1, 2014
Effective Jan. 1, 2016
Room occupied alone
$42.33 per week
$47.03 per week
$34.94 per week
$38.82 per week
Apartment – two thirds (2/3) of ordinary rental value, and no more than:
|Apartment for single employee:|
$508.38 per month
$564.81 per month
|Apartment for couple employed by same employer:|
$752.02 per month
$835.49 per month
MEALS (must be bona fide meals consistent with employee’s work shift)
Procedure for filing a wage claimWhat can I do if my employer doesn't pay me my overtime wages?
You can either file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (also known as the Labor Commissioner’s Office), or you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer to recover the lost wages. Additionally, if you no longer work for this employer, you can make a claim for waiting time penalties according to Labor Code section 203.
After you complete and file your wage claim with a local office of the Labor Commissioner’s Office, your case will be assigned to a Deputy Labor Commissioner, who will determine how best to proceed based upon the circumstances. Initial action may be referral to a conference or to a hearing.
If the decision is to hold a conference, the parties will be notified by mail of the date, time, and place of the conference. The purpose of the conference is to determine the full amount being claimed and whether the matter can be resolved. If the claim is not resolved at the conference, the next step usually is to refer the matter to a hearing.
At a hearing, the parties and witnesses testify under oath, and the proceeding is recorded. After the hearing, an Order, Decision, or Award (ODA) will be provided by the Labor Commissioner.
Either party may appeal the ODA to a civil court. The court will set the matter for trial, with each party having the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses. If the employer appeals the Labor Commissioner’s decision, the Labor Commissioner’s Office may represent an employee who is financially unable to afford counsel in the court proceeding.
See the Policies and Procedures of Wage Claim Processing pamphlet for more detail on the wage claim process.
When the Order, Decision, or Award (ODA) is in the employee's favor and there is no appeal, but the employer does not pay the ODA, the Labor Commissioner’s Office will have the court enter the ODA as a judgment against the employer. This ruling has the same force and effect as any other money judgment entered by the court. After the judgment is entered, the Labor Commissioner’s Office will provide you with a letter explaining your collection options.
If your employer discriminates or retaliates against you in any manner whatsoever (for example by terminating you or giving you fewer hours), you can file a discrimination/retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner's Office. Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit against your employer in court.