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Know Your Rights: Rules about shifts

Ginette Marcoux |  Special to the Fitzhugh

Q. Is an employer required to give me days off on a weekly basis? 

A. All employees are entitled to at least one day of rest each work week. If employers are not providing a minimum of one day off per week, anonymous complaints can be submitted to Employment Standards at

Q.  What do I need to know about working split shifts?

A.  Split shifts are very common in the tourism sector and should be expected for certain occupations like restaurants. There are rules that apply when working a split shift. For shifts 10 hours or longer, an employee is entitled to two 30 minute breaks paid or unpaid. If the employer restricts your ability to leave the premises in any way, the break must be paid.  

Q. How much rest can I expect between shifts?

A. An employee must have at least eight hours’ rest between shifts. 

Q. How much notice should I be given regarding a shift change?

A. Employees are not required to change from one shift to another without at least 24 hours written notice which can be done via text or email.  

Q. Can I be called into work for less than three hours and sent home? 

A. Employees must be paid for at least three hours of pay at the minimum wage each time they are required to report to work, be it to work or for a staff meeting. This three-hour minimum does not apply if the employee is available to work the full three hours.

If the employee’s regular wage is greater than the minimum wage, the employer may pay them for less than three hours of work at a higher rate, as long as the total is higher than three hours at minimum wage ($45).

Q. How can I avoid owing a lot of money in taxes if I work full-time and part-time jobs?

A. Taxes must be filed every year with the federal government. The easiest way to avoid owing the government a lot of money at tax time is to correctly complete your TD1 (Personal Tax Credit) and TD1AB with your part time employer. The total claim amount should be entered as $.00 on each of the sheets, this will indicate to your second employer that your earnings must be taxed. It is also recommended that if you work in an industry where tips are part of your earnings, additional taxes be taken off when you are paid to avoid owing a significant amount of money come tax time. Recommended amount: 20-25 per cent of your gross income. You will want to indicate the additional taxes to be taken off on the TD1 form on the back: Additional Tax to be Deducted.

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