The provisions of Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 apply to domestic workers, which include persons employed by a householder to provide care, supervision or personal assistance to children, senior or disabled members of the household. Under the provisions regarding hours of work and rest periods (Part VII of the Act) domestic workers, as is the case for most other employees in the province, are normally entitled to minimum rest periods: 11 hours per day, eight hours between each shift and at least 24 consecutive hours every work week or at least 48 consecutive hours in every period of at least two consecutive work weeks. They are also entitled to an eating period of at least 30 minutes for every period of five consecutive hours of work. With the employee's consent, this break may be divided and taken at two different times. The employer must also pay a domestic worker at the overtime wage rate after 44 hours of work in a week or, if the employee and employer agree, on the basis of the average number of hours worked in a given period (generally not to exceed four weeks). If the employee consents, the employer may grant an hour and a half of compensatory time off for each overtime hour worked instead of payment in cash. This compensatory time off must be taken within the following three months or, if the employee agrees, during the following 12 months (s. 22). Lastly, the employer must provide the domestic worker with written particulars respecting the hours of work and hourly rate of pay (s.19, Ont. Reg. 285/01 - Exemptions, Special Rules and Establishment of Minimum Wage Regulation).
Domestic workers are entitled to the minimum wage, currently $10.77 an hour. With regard to deductions for room and board supplied by the employer, the wages of a domestic worker cannot be reduced to less than would have been received at the minimum wage rate less $2.55 per meal- to a maximum of $53.55 per week-and $31.70 per week for a private room. These amounts cannot be deducted unless the employee has taken the meals provided and occupied the room. Moreover, no amount can be required for a room unless it is reasonably furnished and suitable for human habitation, supplied with clean bed linen and towels, and affords the employee reasonable access to a bathroom (s. 19 of the Regulation). The other working conditions set out in the Act also apply to domestics, including paid public holidays, vacations with pay, maternity and parental leave, the payment of wages, notice of termination and severance pay.
- YUKON TERRITORY
Most provisions of the Employment Standards Act apply to domestics, including domestic homemakers. However, the Act does not cover sitters working in a private residence solely to attend to a child, or to a disabled, infirm or other person (General Exemption Regulations). The Act applies to domestics, with the exception of provisions concerning hours of work, overtime pay and rest periods. Domestics are entitled to the minimum wage ($10.30 per hour) multiplied by eight hours for each day of work (s.3, Minimum Wage Regulations), annual vacations with pay, paid general holidays, maternity and parental leave, notice of termination and the recovery of unpaid wages. An employee earning minimum wage can be charged for room and board provided there is a written agreement and provided the charge is not more than $5.00 per day.An employee cannot be required to cover the meal and accommodation costs unless these have been supplied by the employer and the employee has signed a contract of employment providing for the deduction or payment (s.6, Minimum Wage Regulations).
Web-sites (Act): http://www.community.gov.yk.ca/labour/minwage.html
Saskatchewan's Labour Standards Act and Regulations do not apply in the same way to "care providers" as they do to domestic workers (these two categories have their own definitions).1 The minimum employment standards also vary depending on whether or not the employee lives with the employer. Live-in care providers are covered by most of the provisions of the Act including those regarding maternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave, bereavement leave, annual holidays with pay, paid public holidays, the recovery of unpaid wages, hours of work, overtime (employees are normally entitled to 1.5% of their regular wage for each hour worked after eight hours' work per day or 40 hours per week) and notice of termination. Under the Labour Standards Regulations they are also entitled to two consecutive days off per seven-day period, which can be taken at a time agreed with the employer (s.12 of the Regulations).
Minimum wage provisions in the Act do not apply to live-in caregivers beyond the first eight hours worked in a day (presently $10.51 per hour ) (s.13 of the Regulations). The employer cannot require more than $250 a month from the employee to cover the cost of room and board (s.14 of the Regulations). Moreover, an employee can refuse to live in a dwelling that they consider unsuitable, unsafe or unsanitary, unless it has been approved by the Director of the Employment Standards Branch (s.33 of the Regulations). An employer who requires the wearing of a uniform or any other clothing must cover the purchase and maintenance costs (s.9, Minimum Wage Board Order, 1997).
The Live-in Caregiver Program operates differently in Quebec compared to the other provinces and territories. Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec plays a role in the selection of foreign workers. In order to work in Quebec, caregivers have to obtain a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ), which is contingent, in part, on the signing of an employment contract between the employee and the employer. This contract must contain the job description, work schedule, days off, wage rate and residence qualifications. It must also describe the obligations of the employer. Beyond the requirement to comply with the provisions of the Act respecting labour standards as applicable, the employer is obliged to provide decent living conditions and facilitate access to French courses outside regular working hours. For further information, contact the Ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration.
The Act respecting labour standards does not apply to an employee whose exclusive duty is to provide care, in a dwelling, to a child or to a sick, disabled or aged person (s.3(2) of the Act). However, live-in caregivers may be covered by the provisions of the Act if they also do housework that is not directly related to the immediate needs of the care recipient. In such case, they are deemed to be domestics. Domestics are entitled to annual leave with pay, statutory general holidays, overtime pay, notice of termination and various leaves for family events (leave for a wedding or death in the family, maternity leave, parental leave, absences for obligations to a minor child). Domestics living in their employer's residence are entitled to a minimum salary of $9.99 per hour (s.5, Regulations respecting labour standards). Their employer may not require an amount for room and board (s.51.0.1 of the Act). The regular work week for domestics is 40 hours. Every additional hour of work must be remunerated at the overtime rate of one and a half times the regular hourly wage; it may also be compensated, at the employee's request, by providing a paid leave equivalent to the overtime worked plus 50% (s.8, Regulations). Moreover, if an employer requires the wearing of a uniform, he must provide it free of charge to an employee who is paid at the minimum wage rate. He cannot require an amount of money for the purchase, use or maintenance of a uniform if this would reduce the employee's wages below what the latter would have earned at the minimum wage rate (s. 85 of the Act). It should be noted that a labour commissioner cannot order the reinstatement of a domestic who has been the victim of an unlawful dismissal or a dismissal without good and sufficient cause; however, they can order the employer to pay compensation equal to the wages and other benefits the domestic would have received over a maximum period of three months (ss.123 and 128 of the Act).
- NORTHWEST TERRITORIES AND NUNAVUT
The provisions of the Labour Standards Act in both of these territories apply to live-in caregivers in the same manner as to most other employees. This means they are covered by provisions concerning the minimum wage ($10.67 per hour in NWT and $11.56 per hour in Nunavut), hours of work and overtime (payable after 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week), the weekly day of rest, annual vacations with pay, paid general holidays, maternity and parental leave, and notice of termination. The employer can deduct the cost of room and board from the wages of a live in caregiver at the amount not exceeding $420.00 per month.
Web sites (Act): http://www.justice.gov.nt.ca/PDF/ACTS/Employment_Standards.pdf
- NEW BRUNSWICK
New Brunswick's Employment Standards Act and Regulations do not apply to persons working in private homes. Live-in caregivers therefore have no protection under provincial employment standards legislation, which makes it all the more important to clearly spell out the working conditions in the employment contract.
Minimum wage for the Live in Caregiver in NB is $10.51 per hour, Maximum hours of work before overtime applies is 44. Deductions for room and board are $295.53 maximum but wages cannot be below provincial minimum wages.
Most of the provisions in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code apply to domestic workers including those concerning the recovery of unpaid wages, paid annual holidays, rest periods (usually 30 minutes per shift in excess of five consecutive hours, can be paid or unpaid), days off (one day in each work week or two consecutive days per two-week period, three consecutive days per three-week period or four consecutive days per four-week period – s. 19), maternity leave, parental leave, general holidays and notice of termination. The Code also stipulates that an employee cannot be held responsible for loss of property if another person also had access to it (s. 12(3)). Domestic workers are entitled to an hourly minimum salary of $10.11 per hour. Maximum hours before overtime are 44 hours a week.
- NOVA SCOTIA
Nova Scotia's Labour Standards Code and Regulations apply to workers providing domestic services, including live-in caregivers, if they work more than 24 hours a week and their employer is not a close relative. Persons hired under the Live-in Caregiver Program can therefore benefit from the Code's provisions pertaining to vacations with pay, paid general holidays, the minimum wage ($10.15 per hour), overtime (payable after 44 hours' work in a week at a rate of one and a half times the minimum wage), maternity and parental leave, bereavement leave, court leave, hours of work, rest periods (normally 24 consecutive hours per seven-day period), notice of termination and the payment of wages. The employer can deduct $68.20 per week from a caregiver's wages to cover the cost of room and board. An employer requiring that a uniform be worn cannot reduce the wages of a caregiver for its purchase or laundering to an amount inferior to what they would have received at the minimum wage. However, the employee, regardless of their salary, remains responsible for the cost of dry cleaning (s.14, GMWO).
- BRITISH COLUMBIA
Provisions regarding minimum employment standards apply to live-in caregivers, who are considered as domestics under the Employment Standards Act. These provisions include those pertaining to the recovery of wages, annual vacations with pay, paid general holidays, maternity leave, parental leave, family leave, hours of work and overtime pay (usually after eight hours’ work in a day or 40 hours in a week), rest periods (normally eight hours between each shift and 32 consecutive hours per week) and notice of termination. In addition, an employer requiring that a uniform or special clothing be worn has to provide it free of charge to the employee and pay maintenance and cleaning costs (s.25, ESA).
Live-in caregivers are normally entitled to a minimum wage of $10.25 per hour. Moreover an employer cannot charge a domestic more than $325 a month to cover the cost of room and board (s.14, ESR). The employer of a domestic has to register the latter with the Registry Office of the Employment Standards Branch. The name, address and telephone and fax numbers of the employer and the employee must be provided. An employer planning to hire a domestic worker from another country must notify the Employment Standards Branch before the actual hiring and before making an application to bring the employee into Canada (s. 15, ESA; s. 13, ESR). Finally, on employing a domestic, the employer must provide them with a copy of the employment contract. This contract must clearly state the duties, hours of work, wage and cost of room and board. Any hours worked beyond those stated in the contract must be remunerated (s.14, ESA).
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