Can an Employer Change an Employee’s Work Schedule?

Written by on August 16, 2022 in Employment Law Blog, Employment Law Issues
Work Schedule Hours of Work

Having a work schedule suddenly changed by an employer can be inconvenient and even frustrating to an employee – especially if an employee feels like they have a good routine going. Whether an employer is allowed to make these changes often depends on whether there is anything in the employment contract concerning the potential changes.

An employer is generally free to make minor changes as they require. In some cases, an employee may be able to claim constructive dismissal against an employer for making significant changes to the work schedule, however this will require contextual analysis to see if the claim has merit.

What are the hours of work in Ontario?

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 describes the rights of employees and obligations of employers concerning hours of work. The portion of the Act that deals with this is designed to ensure that employers can have the needs of their business met while ensuring that employees are not overworked and that they have sufficient time off in between shifts.

The maximum number of hours that an employer may require from an employee is “an established regular workday” which can exceed 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week. Where there is no established regular workday, it is a maximum of 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week.

The daily or weekly maximum hours can be exceeded if both the employer and employee agree in writing.

Exceeding hours of work limits

As mentioned, an employer and employee may exceed the hours of work limits if they agree to it in writing. The conditions on such an agreement are as follows:

The written agreement to exceed the hours of work limits may also be cancelled by the employee if they provide two weeks written notice or it may be cancelled by the employer if they provide “reasonable notice.”

While there is no limit on the number of hours that an employee could potentially work in most industries, they must still be paid overtime where required and given the minimum number of breaks as specified in the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Minimum hours of work

In most cases, there are no set minimum work hours in Ontario, however, there is something called the “Three Hour Rule” which states that an employee who regularly works more than a three-hour shift must get paid for at least three hours if they were required to show up for a shift in which they worked less than three hours.

Contact Minken Employment Lawyers today

Do you have questions about hours of work and changes to work schedules?

Whether you are an employee or an employer with questions about hours of work, overtime pay, or work scheduling, our employment lawyers at Minken Employment Lawyers are here to help. Contact Minken Employment Lawyers today to speak to a member of our team: 905-477-7011 | Toll-Free: 1-866-477-7011 | contact@minken.com.

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Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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