Everything you need to know about overtime in BC

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In British Columbia (“BC”), overtime and overtime pay are regulated by provincial employment standards. Overtime refers to the additional hours an employee works beyond their regular or standard working hours, typically 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. Employees receive overtime pay for working these extra hours, payable at a minimum of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate. If an employee works greater than 12 hours in a day, they are entitled to double their usual pay.

Who is entitled to overtime pay?

Not all employees are entitled to overtime pay. There are exemptions for managers, workers in certain industries, agricultural workers, and certain professionals.  These exemptions are outlined in the regulations enacted pursuant to the Employment Standards Act. Employees who have signed an averaging agreement with their employer are also exempt.

With the exception of the occupations detailed in the list, these regulations will be applicable to all employees who are not in managerial roles, regardless of whether they are paid an annual salary or an hourly wage.

How is overtime pay calculated?

Unless you are subject to an averaging agreement, overtime pay is typically paid at 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly wage for any time worked over 8 hours, and double their usual pay for time over 12 hours. Additionally, employees are entitled to 1.5 times their usual pay for time worked over 40 hours per week.


Suppose an employee earns $20 per hour and works 45 hours in a workweek. In this case, the overtime pay calculation would be as follows:

Regular pay: 40 hours x $20/hour = $800

Overtime pay: 5 hours x $30/hour (1.5 times the regular rate) = $150

Total pay for the week: $800 (regular) + $150 (overtime) = $950

Employers are legally obligated to pay employees for overtime work at the prescribed rate. If an employer fails to do so, employees have the right to file a complaint with the BC Employment Standards Branch to seek unpaid overtime wages.

Can I get fired for refusing overtime?

It’s important to recognize that according to the Employment Standards Act, an employer can terminate an employee’s employment for any cause, as long as they offer adequate notice or compensation. In other words, your employer is able to terminate your employment if they ask you to work overtime and you refuse, as long as adequate notice or compensation is provided.

For employees who have been employed for more than three consecutive months, your employer is required to provide one week’s notice or compensation equal to one week of pay. After 12 consecutive months of employment and up to 3 years of employment, you would be entitled to two weeks’ notice or compensation of two weeks’ pay. After three consecutive years of employment, you would be entitled to three weeks’ notice or three weeks’ pay. Thereafter, your notice or compensation entitlement increases by one week for each additional year of employment, up to a maximum of 8 weeks.

You can read more on this topic in our blog: “Can You Get Fired for Refusing to Work Overtime?

Who is tasked with keeping track of overtime hours?

Employers typically keep records of employees’ work hours, especially overtime hours, to ensure accurate compensation. It’s important for employees to keep track of their own hours as well, to ensure they are paid correctly and in order to be able to prove their claim before the Employment Standards Branch in the event that their employer refuses to pay them the amount they are rightfully owed.

Overtime and overtime pay are important components of labour laws designed to protect workers’ rights and ensure fair compensation for additional work beyond regular hours. If you believe you should be receiving overtime pay but are not, or if you are unsure about your exempt status, speak with an employment lawyer for assistance. The knowledgeable and experienced lawyers at Labour Rights Law would be happy to discuss your case with you and provide you with the guidance you need before you proceed with filing your complaint.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article, and this website generally, is not intended as legal advice and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.  To provide legal advice on your problem, a lawyer must first understand your specific situation.

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