Retail Workers

Over two million people are working in retail in Canada, with a significant increase in retail workers during the holidays.

Before hiring staff for your retail business, it’s key you understand the employment rights which you need to stick to.

Failure to pay your staff correctly is a violation of employment standards legislation.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the protection of retail workers, how to pay your staff correctly and, why it’s important.

What Businesses Qualify as Retail?

For a business to qualify as retail, its main aim must be to sell goods or services to the public.

  • Grocery and clothing stores.
  • Corner shops.
  • Car dealerships.
  • Hair salons are all common examples of such businesses.

Most retail businesses employ additional temporary staff to help during any busy periods.

Are Retail Workers Covered by Employment Standards?

Retail workers in Canada are covered and protected by the local provincial employment standards legislation. When hiring new staff, you must be aware of the local legislation for working in retail.

However, in Ontario, there are special provisions which are focused on retail workers.

Retail Workers in Ontario

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) protects retail workers in Ontario. The ESA states that employees working in retail during the holidays have the right to refuse to work on public holidays.

However, 48 hours’ notice must be given prior to the day.

If the public holiday falls on a day which would normally be a working day, most employees will qualify for public holiday pay.

In Ontario, some retail businesses are exempt from these rules relating to public holidays:

  • If the main business is to sell prepared meals: for example, cafes or restaurants.
  • If the business provides educational or amusement services to the public: for example, museums or galleries.
  • Rent living accommodation: for example, hotels or camps.
  • Sell goods that are secondary to the business: for example, museum gift shops or souvenir shops in stadiums.

Retail workers who work over 44 hours in a week should receive 1.5 times the rate of their hourly rate in overtime pay. Employees mustn’t work more than five hours without receiving a 30-minute break.

What Are the Rights of Retail Workers in the Other Provinces?

Although there aren’t provisions, especially for retail workers in every province, basic employment standards still apply. These include the number of hours employees should work in a week, as well as overtime pay rules.

  • British Columbia: Employees should receive 1.5 times the rate of their hourly pay for any hours worked above eight hours per day, up to twelve. Even if they don’t work more than 40 hours a week.
  • Alberta: Employees should receive 1.5 times the rate of their hourly pay for working more than eight hours in a day or 44 hours in a week.
  • Manitoba: Employees should receive 1.5 times the rate of their hourly pay for working more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.
  • Saskatchewan: Employees should receive 1.5 times the rate of their hourly pay.

Employees in all the above provinces must also receive an unpaid break of 30 minutes for every five hours worked. Ensuring your staff take their allocated breaks can help to avoid employee burnout – especially over busy periods.

You must understand the working hours and ensure you pay your staff correctly for the hours worked. Failure to do so can lead to a breach of employment standards.

Get Help With Managing Employees Today With BrightHR

Understanding the rights of your employees is key to forming a successful working relationship.

Before hiring retail workers, it’s key you understand their employment rights. Failure to do so can lead to a violation of employment standards.

If you need assistance with managing and 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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