Top 10 List – BC Employment Laws

The B.C. Employment Standards Act protects employees whether they are employed on a part-time, full-time, temporary or permanent basis, and whether they are paid by the hour, by salary or commission. Failure by an employer to comply with the Act may result in penalties being assessed.

We have identified the top 10 need to know items when operating a business in British Columbia, Canada. The list below was adapted from BC Employment standards website.

1. Employee Hiring and False Representations: An employer must not influence or persuade a person to become an employee, or to work or to be available for work, by misrepresenting any of the following: the availability of a position, the type of work, the wages, or the conditions of employment.  Employers and employees should confirm the job offer and its conditions in writing before the start date to avoid any misunderstanding.

2. Employee Records: Employers must keep records for each employee presenting: the employee’s wage rate; the hours worked each day; benefits paid; gross and net wages for each pay period; deductions taken; dates of statutory holidays and vacations taken, and amounts paid.

3. Hours of work: When scheduling employees, employers must observe the requirements regarding meal breaks, time off between shifts, scheduling split shifts, hours free from work each week, minimum daily pay and overtime.

4. Paydays: All employees must be paid at least twice a month. A pay period may not exceed 16 days. All money earned, including overtime and statutory holiday pay, must be paid within eight days after the end of the pay period. Wages must be paid in Canadian currency and may be paid by direct deposit to an employee’s bank account if authorized in writing by the employee.

5. Deductions from wages: An employer may only deduct wages as (e.g. income tax, CPP, EI). An employer cannot demand an employee to pay any portion of an employer’s business costs, nor can an employer deduct advances and accidental overpayments from wages unless the employee has given written authorization.

6. Vacation and Vacation Pay: An employer must give an employee an annual vacation of at least two weeks after 12 months of employment, and three weeks after five years of employment. After being employed for 5 calendar days, an employee is entitled to receive annual vacation pay of at least 4% of all wages earned for the first five years of employment and 6% after that.

7. Statutory Holidays: Employees who have been employed for 30 calendar days, and have worked 15 of the 30 days before a statutory holiday, are entitled to statutory holiday pay of an average day’s pay.

8. Leaves and Jury Duty: Employers must grant the following types of unpaid leaves: pregnancy, parental, family responsibility, compassionate care, bereavement, reservists’ and jury duty.

9. Termination: An employer may terminate an employee if sufficient written notice or compensation in lieu of notice is provided. Employers must pay final wages within 48 hours of terminating an employee, or within 6 days if the employee quits.

10. Compensation for length of service: An employee who is terminated may be eligible for the following compensation: After three consecutive months of employment –one week’s pay; After 12 consecutive months of employment – two weeks’ pay; After three consecutive years – three weeks’ pay, plus one week’s pay for each additional year of employment to a maximum of eight weeks.


This document has been prepared for general information purposes. It is not a legal document. Please also refer to the B.C. Employment Standards Act and Regulation for purposes of interpretation and application of the law.

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