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Presence at work, breaks and weekly rest period

Presence at work

Workers must be paid for time worked.

A worker is considered to be at work and must be paid: 

  • when they are available at their place of employment and are waiting for work to be assigned 
  • during breaks granted by their employer 
  • during travel that is required by their employer 
  • during any trial or training period that is required by their employer

An employer must pay a worker if they ask them to arrive 10 or 15 minutes before their shift or to leave 10 to 15 minutes after their shift.

An employer must also reimburse a worker for any reasonable expenses incurred when, at the employer’s request, the worker must travel or undergo training. 

Breaks

An employer is under no obligation to offer breaks but when a break is granted, it must be paid and be included in the calculation of the hours worked.

Meals

After 5 consecutive hours of work, a worker is entitled to a 30-minute meal break, without pay. If the worker is required to remain at their workstation during this time, their meal break must be paid.

Weekly rest period

A worker is entitled to a rest period of at least 32 consecutive hours each week. In the case of a farm worker, the rest period may be postponed to the following week if they agree to this.

Minimum indemnity of 3 hours for reporting for work

A person who reports for work in accordance with their usual schedule or at the express request of their employer but who, in the end, works fewer than 3 hours or does not work at all must be paid for 3 hours at their usual wage. This amount must include the tips they would have earned during this time. If the calculation of overtime for the hours worked entitles the worker to a higher amount than the indemnity for reporting for work, they must be paid this amount.

This rule does not apply in cases of force majeure, such as a fire, or when the worker is hired for periods of less than 3 hours, such as school bus drivers, school crossing guards, school monitors or some ushers.

Information meetings

When a worker has to report to work outside their normal working hours or on a day off to be given information and instructions, including during an information meeting, this must be considered as time worked.

If the meeting schedule is known, the worker is paid for the time scheduled for the meeting. If the employer asks an employee to attend a meeting on a non-working day and the meeting schedule is not known, the employer may have to pay a minimum of 3 hours, unless this type of meeting is usually held within a 3-hour period.

Example

Roberto opens a new café and asks his employees to attend an information meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to last 90 minutes. Roberto will have to pay his employees for the hour and a half the meeting is scheduled to last. If the meeting ends at 9 p.m., Roberto will have to pay his employees for 2 hours.

Paul, who opens a restaurant next door, also asks his employees to attend an information meeting at 7 p.m., outside normal working hours. In this company, the duration of work meetings varies widely. Therefore, Paul will have to pay his employees for 3 hours, even if the meeting lasted only one and a half hours.

Laws and regulations

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