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What are my legal rights as an employee?

Reviewed by
Nov 3, 2021

Workers in BC have rights respecting health and safety at work. You can expect to complete a health and safety orientation when you start a new job. For more on some of the safety risks you may encounter and your rights on the job, visit Work Safe BC.

In British Columbia, the Employment Standards Branch (ESB) is the government department that provides information and resources for workplace standards for most employers throughout the province.

In British Columbia, you are entitled to overtime if your employer asks you to work more than eight hours in a day or more than 40 hours in a week unless you have an averaging agreement. You can also expect to be paid the minimum wage and if your employer asks you to come to work, then you must be paid for at least two hours even if there is no work to do. You can work for five hours without a break, after five hours, your employer must provide a 30-minute break. You can expect to get at least two weeks of paid vacation every year. If you work for the same employer for more than five years, then your employer must give you three weeks’ paid vacation per year.

If you belong to a union, then your union and your employer negotiate the terms of employment. Your collective agreement sets out your rights and working conditions. Unions are required to follow certain rules that are written in the Labour Relations Code.

To learn more about issues related to employment, see Peoples Law School website or Clicklaw.