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Your guide to the Employment Standards Act

Your guide to the Employment Standards Act
Know your rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act. This guide details minimum wage, hours of work, termination of employment, public holidays, pregnancy and parental leave, severance pay, vacation and more.

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) provides the minimum standards for most employees working in Ontario. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in most Ontario workplaces.

This guide should not be used as or considered legal advice. You may have greater rights under an employment contract, collective agreement, the common law or other legislation. If you’re unsure about anything in this guide, please talk to a lawyer.

About Your guide to the ESA
This guide is a convenient source of information about key sections of the ESA. It is for your information and assistance only. It is not a legal document. If you need details or exact language, please refer to the ESA itself and the regulations.

What is covered by the ESA?
The ESA covers a wide range of employment standards including: minimum requirements for employment; provisions to assist employees with family responsibilities; increased flexibility in work arrangements; and mechanisms for compliance and enforcement.

  • The employment standards poster: posting and distributing requirements
  • Hours of work, eating periods and rest periods
  • Payment of wages
  • Overtime pay
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Minimum wage
  • Pregnancy and parental leave
  • Sick leave
  • Bereavement leave
  • Family responsibility leave
  • Family caregiver leave
  • Family medical leave
  • Critical illness leave
  • Crime-related child disappearance leave
  • Public holidays
  • Vacation
  • Termination of employment and temporary layoffs
  • Severance of employment
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Temporary help agencies
  • Enforcement and compliance

For more information on what is covered and what is not under the ESA, check out the report