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Getting Paid

Part of our guide to your rights as a worker in B.C.

Top 5 Forms of Wage Theft

  • Forced to pay “employer costs.” Employers can’t deduct from your pay or tips for things like broken dishes/glasses, customer theft, or as punishment for poor work performance. If you must wear a uniform then the employer must give it to you. A dress code (no jeans, no cut-offs, dark clothing, business casual) is not typically considered a uniform.
  • No statutory holiday pay. Have you worked 15 of the last 30 days leading up to a stat holiday and  been employed for at least 30 days? If so, you’re entitled to an average day’s pay even when you don’t work on the stat holiday. And, if you do work on the stat holiday, you’re entitled to an average day’s pay plus time-and-a half for hours worked.
  • Not getting paid for all your work time. You should never have to start work early or stay late beyond your paid hours. For example, it is wage theft to be asked to “work off the clock.”
  • Denied overtime. Daily overtime is time-and-a half after you’ve worked 8 hours. Weekly overtime is time-and-a half after you’ve worked more than 40 hours in a week.
  • Last pay cheque is late or missing. Employers must pay all outstanding wages (including tips) within 48 hrs if they fire you, and within 6 days if you quit.

Protect yourself from wage theft by keeping your own records. Keep track of the days and hours you work and compare it to your pay stub! If something is off, get in touch with us, we’ve got your back.

What if my employer doesn’t pay me what I’m owed?

If your employer doesn’t pay you correctly, this is wage theft.

We can help you to get your wages or tips back. If you are missing wages, let us know here.

Tips & tip-pools

Can an employer take my tips?
Employers are allowed to collect tips and redistribute them to other employees, but they can’t take your tips to cover things like spillage, broken dishes, credit card/debit fees, wages, ‘house costs’ or customer theft.

Shareholders and company directors/owners are not allowed to collect a portion of the tip pool.

What about tips and Employment Insurance (EI)?
If the tips you earn are considered “controlled tips,” and not “direct tips”, then they count towards your total insurable earnings. This means if you receive EI (e.g. for being laid off, or for taking maternity/parental leave, or other reasons) your tips should count as part of your insurable earnings and can increase your EI payment.

Your employer is legally responsible for paying EI premiums on controlled tips. This means that when you go on EI (e.g. take maternity/parental leave, or use regular EI benefit) your EI amount should include gratuities.

Controlled tips: tips an employer controls or possesses and pays to the employee. (e.g. tips allocated to employees using a tip pool or a tip-out, a tip-sharing formula determined by the employer, or an employer adding a mandatory service charge to a customer’s bill)

Direct tips: tips an employer has no control over. (e.g. a customer leaves a tip and the server keeps the whole amount, or when employees and not the employer decide how the tips are pooled or shared). For more examples see the CRA policy controlled vs direct tips.

Minimum wage

Minimum wage is the minimum rate an employer can legally pay you (this includes all time worked, including training time). Some workers such as farm workers, live-in home support workers, live-in camp leaders and other workers might have different wage rates. Find out more info here.

General minimum wage is $16.75/hr as of June 1, 2023. On June 1, 2024, it will increase to $17.40/hr.

Liquor servers minimum wage is $16.75/hr (same as the regular wage) as of June 1, 2023. On June 1, 2024, it will increase to $17.40/hr.

Victory for workers!
In 2018 we successfully campaigned to put an end to the lower liquor server wage and the government listened!

How often you should be paid

You must get paid at least twice a month and receive a pay stub with  the hours you worked, rate(s) of pay (including overtime, stat holiday pay), total earnings and deductions (like CPP, EI, and taxes). You must be paid in cash, cheque, or by direct deposit. Gift cards, staff discounts, or free food and perks do not count toward the hourly wages you are owed.

Appearing to a shift

If you are scheduled and required by an employer to report for work, you are legally entitled to 2 hours pay at your regular rate if you show up to work and are turned away because it’s slow, whether or not you start work. If you were scheduled for over 8 hours that day, you are entitled for 4 hours pay under the Employment Standards Act.

Your right to overtime pay

There are 2 types of overtime pay:

  • Daily overtime: After working 8 hours you should be paid time-and-a-half (1.5 x your hourly wage). After working 12 hours you should be paid double-time (2 x your hourly wage).
  • Weekly overtime: If you work over 40 hours in a week, you should be paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked after 40 hours. For example, if you work 45 hours in a week, you must be paid for 5 hours of overtime. Weekly overtime applies even if you never work more than 8 hours in a day.

There are exceptions to overtime; An employer may ask you to sign an averaging agreement. This is an agreement between workers and employers that allows hours of work to be averaged out over a specific period of time.

You can agree to work up to 12 hours a day, averaging 40 hours a week, without being paid overtime.

But there are certain rules for averaging agreements, and often these rules are often violated by employers:

  • It must be written and signed by you and the employer before the start date of agreement.
  • It must specify the number of weeks over which hours will be averaged (1-4 weeks).
  • It must specify the work schedule for each day covered by the agreement.
  • It must have a start and an end date and specify the number of times the agreement can be repeated.
  • The agreement can be altered, but changes must be made in writing and agreed to by you.

Keep a copy of the agreement for your own records. Even with an averaging agreement, you may be entitled to daily overtime. For example if according to your agreement you’re supposed to work 10 hours and you end up working 12, you must be paid time and a half for 2 hours.

When you should receive vacation pay

After one year of continuous employment, you’re entitled to two weeks vacation (at 4% of your total earnings). After five years, an employee is entitled to three weeks vacation (6% of your total earnings).

You can take your vacation in periods of one or more weeks. You need to take your vacation within 12 months of it being earned. If you work less than one year you are not entitled to take a vacation, but you still must be paid 4% vacation pay if you quit or get fired.

What if my employer doesn’t pay me what I’m owed?

If your employer doesn’t pay you correctly, this is wage theft. The Worker Solidarity Network can help you to get your wages or tips back. If you are missing wages, let us know here.