What is the Employment Standards Act (ESA)?

British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) sets the minimum standards for employment in the province under the administration of the Employment Standards Branch. This legislation sets expected working conditions and informs employers about their rights and responsibilities.

Employers have the option to offer more entitlements than those provided under the ESA. However, they may not offer less than the minimums outlined in the Act.

What do employer’s need to know about the ESA?

It’s essential you’re informed about the ESA and its contents, as it impacts every corner of your business. Providing vacation time? Drafting employee contracts and handbooks? The ESA sets the standards for these processes and much more.

Areas the ESA focuses on include:

  • Hiring
  • Leaves & jury duty
  • Termination
  • Hours of work & overtime
  • Minimum wage
  • Vacation time and pay
  • Stat holidays
  • Protections for young workers
  • And more

Reading and applying the ESA takes a lot of time and hard work. But it is critical to the future of your business that you do so. If you need help, Employer Line is here to offer expert employment advice – we’re just a call away.

Who is covered under the ESA?

Aside from a few exceptions, the ESA applies to all employees in B.C. This includes casual, probationary, temporary, full-time, and part-time workers. The ESA sets out a specific definition of an employee, which the employee must meet to be covered under the Act.

Who is not covered under the ESA?

Certain types of employees do not qualify for entitlements and protection under the ESA.

These employees include:

  • Federally regulated employees.
  • Independent contractors.
  • Professionals regulated under other provincial regulations (e.g. lawyers, doctors, and architects).

Oil and gas workers, truck drivers, taxi drivers, and farm workers are also exempt from ESA protections.

Get answers to your most pressing ESA questions

It’s critical employers understand how the ESA impacts their business. This means knowing how to provide the minimum wage, offer vacation time and pay, conduct terminations properly, and much more. And at the end of the day, the best way to stay prepared and compliant is by being proactive.

Call our dedicated employer advice line to speak with our HR experts anytime at 1-888-935-4735.