The Ontario Employment Standards Act governs how employers in Ontario manage overtime. While at times every company may have a need for staff to work overtime, this should be carefully monitored.
Overtime can be administered by paying employees for time worked, or by offering time off in lieu. For the employer, both options present additional costs and scheduling risks.
The Ontario Employment Standards Act details employers’ responsibilities with respect to managing overtime. As an employer, startups should consult this law and seek legal advice as required.
Employers need to treat different classes of employees differently under the Act so make sure you understand who qualifies and the relevant rules.
For employees who qualify for overtime:
As the Ontario Employment Standards Act requires employers to pay qualifying employees 1.5 times their hourly rate for time worked above 44 hours in a week, Ontario startups will recognize that overtime pay costs 50% more money.
As the employer, monitoring overtime enables your startup to:
Sustained use of overtime increases salary costs by 50% for the overtime worked. If you, as the employer, offer time off in lieu of pay for overtime worked, the accrued amount of time off can become unmanageable for smaller organizations such as a startup.
Employers, in Ontario and elsewhere, with a regular need for overtime should consider less expensive alternatives, such as hiring more staff (either part-time or temporary), outsourcing or introducing automation or process improvements.
Overtime can be an effective way for an employer to handle short-term pressures. However, if overtime is excessive or sustained, it might be time to look at other alternatives.
Most employees don’t mind working extra hours in a crunch, and some even welcome the opportunity to make extra money. But the willingness will wear off and employees will become tired, frustrated and unhappy in their job. This can have a significant impact on morale and productivity in the longer term.
Ontario Ministry of Labour. (n.d.). Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Retrieved June 12, 2014, from http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/guide/publicholidays.php.