Domestic Workers

First published on Friday, May 06, 2022

Last updated on Friday, May 06, 2022

Throughout the world, people are often hired to look after someone’s children or to take care of the family home – and this is no different in Canada.

However, when hiring these employees, you need to be aware of the rules and employment rights you should adhere to. Domestic workers must be treated the same as other employees.

Failure to treat your staff correctly could result in a breach of employment standards legislation.

This guide will discuss what domestic workers are, how much they should be paid, and what the different provincial legislation says about domestic employees.

What is a Domestic Employee?

A domestic employee is employed to complete work in a private home. This work from home is for the care, comfort and convenience of the members of the residence.

Different Types of Domestic Workers

There are many types of domestic workers in Canada. The following are common roles undertaken by this type of employee:

  • Cleaners.
  • Chefs.
  • Child caregivers.
  • Gardeners.
  • Carers for elderly or sick members of the residence.

How Much do Domestic Workers Earn?

Any domestic employees in Canada must be paid the minimum wage for the province in which they’re based.

  • Ontario: $15.00 per hour, with the student minimum wage being $14.60.
  • British Columbia: $15.20 per hour (this is increasing to $15.65 per hour from June 1, 2022).
  • Alberta: $15.00 per hour, with the student minimum wage being $13.00.
  • Manitoba: $11.95 per hour.
  • Saskatchewan: $11.81 per hour.

Not paying your staff correctly could result in a breach of employment. You also need to understand the rights of domestic workers before employing someone for your home.

Do Domestic Workers Have Employment Rights?

There are different provincial legislation which cover domestic workers’ rights in Canada. Understanding the rights of your employee is key to having a successful working relationship.

Domestic Workers in Ontario

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) protects employment rights for domestic employees.

This act covers rights such as wages, vacation with pay, public holidays, sick leave, and hours of work. The full act can be found on the Ontarian Government Website. The act also covers domestic workers who are foreign nationals.

Foreign nationals are protected under the ESA and have the same rights as all other Ontario employees, as well as additional rights under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009.

If you’re providing your domestic worker with a room and meals, the board must be paid correctly. The act states the room provided must be furnished reasonably, be clean and fit for residence, and have access to proper washing facilities.

The rate of the board must be deducted from the employee’s gross pay per week.

Domestic Workers in BC

To employ a domestic worker in British Columbia, they must be registered with the Employment Standards Branch within 30 days of employment starting.

If you’re looking to employ a foreign worker, then you must register with the provincial government. It’s against the law to hire a temporary foreign worker without registration.

Both parties must agree and sign an employment contract. The contract should include work duties, hours of work, wage, and payment schedule, as well as charges for room and board.

Domestic workers in British Columbia are protected by Employment Standards. A violation of these standards can lead to a fine of up to $10,000.

Domestic Workers in Alberta

Domestic employees in Alberta are protected by Employment Standards. These standards cover most employment rights such as breaks, general holidays, termination of employment, and vacations.

Domestic workers in Alberta are exempt from overtime compensation or restrictions on the maximum hours worked daily or weekly.

For any domestic workers living in their employer’s home, there’s a limit to the deductions from pay allowed for meals and lodgings. The maximum deduction allowed per meal is $3.35 and per night for lodging is $4.41.

Domestic Workers in Manitoba

Domestic employees in Manitoba who work over 12 hours per week are protected by the Employment Standards Code. The code states that all domestic workers should receive 36 hours of consecutive rest each week.

If any hours are worked during the rest period, you must pay the correct overtime pay. The period of rest must be increased by the number of hours worked within the next eight weeks.

Deductions for lodging and food must not reduce their weekly earnings below the minimum wage by more than $7 for the room and $1 for each meal.

Domestic Workers in Saskatchewan

If you hire a domestic employee in Saskatchewan, they’re fully covered by Employment Standards.

Domestic employees must receive overtime pay at 1.5 times the rate of their hourly pay. The act also states that all domestic workers must receive two consecutive days off a week, with a maximum of $250 per month deducted for room and board.

Get Help With Hiring Employees Today With BrightHR

Making sure you follow legislation is vitally important when you’re hiring new employees. Failure to pay your staff correctly or allow the right number of breaks can be a violation of employment standards.

If you need assistance with hiring employees, BrightHR has a range of tools that will simplify day-to-day HR tasks.

Our unlimited, cloud-based HR document storage tool will help you to manage your employment contracts and maintain employee pay records with ease.

Contact us on 18882204924 or book a demo online today.

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