Learn More about Who is Covered by 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 ESAitself 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
  • Personal emergency 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

Greater right or benefit

If a provision in an agreement gives an employee a greater right or benefit than a minimum employment standard under the ESA then that provision applies to the employee instead of the employment standard.