Labour Standards: Rules for the Workplace

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After managing for years on a small allowance from your parents, you've decided to get a "real" job. 

Have you ever heard of the Act respecting labour standards?

It's a law that protects most employees and employers in Quebec by providing rules on working conditions.

The Act sets the minimum working conditions that employers must offer employees. But an employer is free to offer even better conditions than the ones in the law, such as more vacation time!


Working Conditions in the Act respecting labour standards

Your employer is the person who hires you and gives you work to do in exchange for a salary or other type of payment.  You do your work under the supervision of the employer. You and your employer have an "employment contract" with each other.

Here are some examples of working conditions employers must respect:


The minimum wage for most jobs in now $12.50 per hour.

Also, your employer must give you a pay sheet explaining any amounts subtracted from your salary.

Breaks and vacation You have a right to a 30-minute meal break after working five hours straight.
Training You must be paid for any time you spend training for your job.
Uniform If you have to wear a uniform on the job, your employer must give it to you for free. 
Age You can start working if you are under the age of 14, as long as you have your parents' written permission.  
School obligations  Your employer can't force you to work during school hours.

The general rules of the Act respecting labour standards don't apply to everyone. Here are some exceptions:

  • volunteers
  • babysitters
  • students working in co-op programs arranged through their schools
  • athletes required to attend school program to stay on a sports team
  • senior managers

However, the rules against harassment on the job do apply to these people.

To find out whether this law applies to you as an employee, you can contact the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST).


In Case of Problems . . .

The Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) can give you information about your rights. The CNESST's role is to make sure employers and their employees follow the Act respecting labour standards.

If your employer isn't respecting one of your rights under the Act, the CNESST can help you file a complaint against the employer. It can also help you reach an agreement with your employer.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.