Canada: Jurisdictional Summary- Quebec

Last Updated: December 19 2014
Practice Guide by Blaney McMurtry LLP

References are to An Act Respecting Labour Standards, CQLR, c. N-1.1, unless noted otherwise.

HOURS OF WORK Regular workweek is 40 hours, except in cases where it is fixed by regulation of the government: 52.

This may be altered with authorization of the Commission or by collective agreement: 53.

An employee may refuse to work: 59.0.1.
  1. More than four hours after regular daily working or more than 14 working hours per 24 hour period, whichever period is the shortest, or for an employee whose working hours are flexible and non-continuous, more than 12 working hours per 24 hour period
  2. Subject to s. 53, more than 50 hours per week, (60 for an employee working in an isolated area or carrying out work in the James Bay Territory)

This section does not apply where there is danger to life, health or safety of employees or population, or in other events of emergency or when refusal would be inconsistent with the employee's professional code of ethics.

EATING PERIODS Subject to collective agreement or decree, employer must grant to an employee a rest period of 30 minutes, without pay, for meals, for a period of five consecutive hours of work; employee is to be paid if not able to leave work station: 79.
REST PERIODS Employees are entitled to a weekly minimum rest period of 32 consecutive hours: 78.
OVERTIME Any work in addition to the regular workweek entails a premium of 50% of the prevailing hourly wage to the employee except premiums computed on an hourly basis

Employer may, at employee's request or in cases of collective bargaining or decree, replace the payment of overtime by paid leave equivalent to the overtime worked plus 50%

Subject to collective agreement or decree, leave must be taken during 12 months following the overtime at a date agreed between the employer and the employee 55
MINIMUM WAGE An employee is entitled to be paid a wage that is at least equivalent to the minimum wage: 40.

Minimum wage is $10.35 per hour, except where an employee makes gratuities or tips, in which case it is $8.90 per hour, as of May 23, 2014: r. 3, s. 3-4.
VACATION An employee credited with less than one year of uninterrupted service with the same employer during a reference year is entitled to an uninterrupted paid leave for a duration of one working day for each month of uninterrupted service, up to two weeks: 67.

An employee credited with one year of uninterrupted service during the reference period is entitled to a minimum two consecutive weeks of paid leave: 68.

An employee covered under s. 68 may apply for an additional leave without pay equal to the number of days required to increase his annual leave to three weeks: 68.1.

Employee credited with 5 uninterrupted years is entitled to a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks of paid leave: 69.

Annual leave must be taken within 12 months of the year from which the entitlement was granted: 70.

Annual leave requirements may be altered by collective agreement or decree: 71.1.
HOLIDAYS Employer must pay employees an indemnity equal to 1/20 of the wages earned during the four complete weeks of pay preceding the week of the holiday; 1/60 of the wages earned during 12 complete weeks of pay preceding the holiday if employee remunerated in whole or in part on commission basis: 62.

Employees who work on statutory general holidays are to be paid for both the work done and in accordance with s. 62, and must be granted a compensatory holiday of one day; holiday must be taken within 3 weeks before or after the day, unless altered by collective agreement: 63.
MINIMUM WORKING AGE No employer may have work performed by a child that is disproportionate to the child's capacity, or that is likely to be detrimental to the child's education, health or physical or moral development: 84.1.

No employer may have work performed by a child under the age of 14 years without first obtaining the written consent of the holder of parental authority: 84.3.
EQUAL PAY No employer may remunerate an employee at a lower rate of wage than that granted to other employees performing the same tasks in the same establishment for the sole reason that the employee usually works less hours each week: 41.1.

Above does not apply to an employee remunerated at a rate of pay which is more than twice the rate of minimum wage: 41.1.
LEAVES OF ABSENCE SICKNESS – An employee may be absent from work for a period of not more than 26 weeks in a year owing to sickness, organ or tissue donation for transplant or an accident, or for a period of not more than 104 weeks in instances where the employee suffers serious bodily injury resulting directly from a criminal offence. This section does not apply, however, to instances of employment injury: 79.1.

FAMILY OR PARENTAL - Up to 10 days per year to fulfill obligations relating to employee's children or immediate family member's health: 79.7.

For a period of not more than 12 weeks over a year where the employee must stay with their immediate family because of serious illness or accident, with extensions available in the case of serious and potentially mortal illness to a minor child: 79.8.

For a period of not more than 52 weeks if the employee's minor child has disappeared: 79.10.

For a period of not more than 52 weeks if the employee's spouse or child commits suicide: 79.11.

For a period of not more than 104 weeks if the death of an employee's spouse or child occurs during or results directly from a criminal offence: 79.12.

For a period of one day in the case of the employee's wedding or civil union: 81.

For a period of five days at the birth of an employee's child, the adoption of a child, or where there is a termination of pregnancy in or after the 20th week: 81.1.

Paternity leave of not more than five consecutive weeks, which shall start no later than 52 weeks after the week of the birth: 81.2.

A pregnant employee is entitled to a maternity leave without pay of not more than 18 consecutive weeks, unless, at her request, the employer consents to a longer maternity leave: 81.4.

The father and mother of a newborn child, and a person who adopts a child, are entitled to parental leave without pay of not more than 52 consecutive weeks: 81.10.

RESERVISTS – an employee who is also a reservist of the Canadian Forces may be absent from work, without pay, for one of the following reasons: 81.17.1:
  1. If the employee has 12 months uninterrupted service, to take part in an operation of the Canadian Forces outside of Canada for a maximum of 18 months;
  2. To take part in an operation to (i) provide assistance in the case of a major disaster, (ii) aid the civil power, on request of the Attorney General of Quebec, or (iii) intervene in any other emergency on behalf of Government;
  3. To take part in annual training for a period of not more than 15 days
TERMINATION/SEVERANCE Employer must give written notice before terminating a contract of employment or laying off a worker for 6 months or more; notice shall be one week if employee has under a year of uninterrupted service, two weeks if between one and five years, four weeks if between five and ten years, and eight weeks if over ten years of uninterrupted service: 82.

Does not apply to employees with (a) less than 3 months uninterrupted service, (b) have a fixed term contract, (c) have committed a serious fault, or (d) for whom the end of the contract or layoff is a result of superior force: 82.1.

Employer who does not give notice or who gives insufficient notice must pay employee compensatory indemnity in lieu of prescribed notice: 83.
EXEMPTIONS 3: Act does not apply to:
  1. Employee whose exclusive duty is to take care of or provide care to a child or to a sick, handicapped or aged person, in that person's dwelling, unless the work serves to procure profit to the employer, or if the employee's duty is performed solely within the context of assistance to family or community help;
  2. To an employee governed by the Act respecting labour relations, vocational training and workforce management in the construction industry;
  3. To a student who works during the school year in an establishment selected by an education institution pursuant to a job induction programme;
  4. To senior managerial personnel, except for standards with respect to leave and severance

88: Government may make regulations exempting certain categories of employees from application of employment standards requirements, namely: managerial personnel, employees on commission, employees engaged in logging operations, saw mills and public works, caretakers, employees who receive gratuities or tips, employees contemplated by subparagraphs I, ii and iii of paragraph 10 of section 1, students employed in a vacation camp or in a social or community non-profit organization, such as a recreational organization, and trainees under a programme of vocational training or induction recognized by law

Regular workweek does not apply for the purposes of computing overtime hours for:

  1. Students employed in vacation camp or for a non-profit or recreational organization;
  2. Managerial personnel of an undertaking;
  3. An employee who works outside an establishment whose working-hours cannot be controlled;
  4. An employee assigned to canning, packaging and freezing fruit and vegetables during the harvesting period;
  5. An employee of a fishing, fish processing or fish canning industry;
  6. A farm worker;
  7. Employee whose sole duty is to care for a child or a sick or handicapped person in their dwelling;
This document is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or rely on any information in this document without first seeking legal advice. This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any specific questions on any legal matter, you should consult a professional legal services provider.

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