Hours of Work and Overtime


British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum workplace standards that apply to most employers in the province. Under the Act, there are hours of work and overtime provisions that are mandatory for employers to follow.  

Hours of Work


Unless working under an averaging agreementregular hours of work are 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. After this, you must provide overtime pay to your employees. 

In particular, the Act outlines requirements during an employee’s hours of work. 

  • Meal Breaks – You must provide an unpaid 30-minute break to employees who work more than five consecutive hours. Pay is only required if the meal break is worked. 
  • Split Shifts – If you require your employee to work a split shift, it must be completed within 12 hours of the first start time. 
  • Minimum Daily Pay – Any employee who reports to work must be compensated for a minimum of two hours. If an employee is scheduled for more than eight hours and reports to work, they must be paid for at least four hours. The exception to the minimum pay is for any ‘unfit’ employee who reports to work, in which case pay must be provided only for time actually worked. 
  • Hours Between Work – An employee must receive a minimum of 32 consecutive hours off work, each week. For any hours worked during this period, overtime pay applies. Lastly, you must ensure that your employee has eight hours off between shifts. 



When an employee reaches the maximum hours of workadditional work hours become overtime. Without an averaging agreementovertime pay must be provided at a rate of: 

  • Daily Overtime – time-and-a-half for any hours worked over the eight-hour maximum, and double time after 12 hours worked in a day 
  • Weekly Overtime – time-and-a-half for any hours worked over the 40-hour maximum in a week, whereby only the first eight hours in a day are counted towards weekly overtime 

Being proactive regardinovertime work is a key part of your employer responsibility to create a workplace that supports the health, safety, and well-being of your employees. 


Are you Managing Hours of Work and Overtime Properly? 


Clearly understanding how to effectively manage your employees’ hours of work, rest periods and overtime hours is essential.  For professional advice regarding these HR matters, call our free employer helpline -1-888-219-876