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Here’s what you need to know about Manitoba Employment Standards

There are a lot of rules about overtime, wages, hours of work, vacations, holidays, ending employment and leaves of absence, etc., set by the Manitoba Employment Standards Code. We can answer your questions and help you better understand these rules.

What are the statutory holidays and how do I pay my staff?

There are eight General Holidays, including New Year's Day, Louis Riel Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Easter Sunday, Terry Fox Day and Boxing Day are not General Holidays. Employees who do not work on these days do not have to be paid. As the employers, you do have the discretion to treat these days as General Holidays.

General Holiday pay is 5% of total wages (not including overtime) in the four weeks before the holiday. All employees receive General Holiday pay unless the are scheduled to work on the holiday but are absent without your permission, or they are absent without your permission from their last scheduled day before or first scheduled day after the holiday.

In most cases, employees who work on a General Holiday receive General Holiday pay plus 1.5x times their wages for the hours worked. However, workers in a gas station, hotel, restaurant, place of amusement, continuously operating business, climate-controlled agricultural business, or a seasonal industry receive regular wages for working a General Holiday if they receive another day off with General Holiday pay in the next 30 days. Read the General Holiday fact sheet.

Is Remembrance Day a General Holiday?

While November 11 is not a General Holiday, there are rules about businesses operating that day. Hotels, restaurants, transportation of goods or passengers, farms and continuously-operating businesses (except retail) can be open. Unless retailers offer professional health and veterinary services, drugs, medicine, infant formula, gasoline, motor oil or emergency vehicle repairs, the business must close between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. All other sectors may not operate on Remembrance Day.

Wages are similar to General Holidays. Employees who don’t work are not required to be paid. The employer has discretion to treat November 11 as a General Holiday.

Employees who work are paid at least half of a normal work day, at 1.5x their regular wages. For example, employees who work two hours on Remembrance Day, but normally work an eight-hour day, are paid four hours at 1.5 times their regular wage. Employees also receive a regular day’s pay for working Remembrance Day, or 5% of their gross earnings in the 28 days before Remembrance Day. Employees who work more than half their normal hours on Remembrance Day are paid 1.5 times their regular wage for all hours worked, plus a regular day’s pay. Read the Remembrance Day fact sheet.

What are the mandatory food and rest breaks?

Employees must receive a 30-minute unpaid break after every five hours of work. This is the only break required by the Employment Standards Code. Coffee breaks, rest breaks and other meal breaks are provided at the employer's discretion.

Which set of employment standards applies to my business?

Employment standards laws set minimum rules for hours of work, overtime, vacation, statutory holidays, notice of termination, etc. Some employers provide more, but no one can agree to work for less than the minimum rules.

Approximately 90% of Manitoba workplaces fall under provincial regulations. A great resource is the Manitoba Employment Standards Branch website.

The other 10% – from the grain industry, air transportation, aircraft operations, highway transportation, communications – follow the Canada Labour Code. If your company is on the list of federally-regulated workplaces, read Part III and the pamphlets.

What steps must I take to terminate a worker?

The Employment Standards Code states employers wanting to terminate employees must give notice of termination or pay wages equal to what would normally be earned during the notice. The notice period varies depending on how long employees have worked for the same employer.

Employers can allow the employee to work out the notice period, or pay wages in lieu of notice, or a combination of both.

Period of employmentNotice period
  
at least thirty days but less than one year1 week
at least one year and less than three years2 weeks
at least three years and less than five years4 weeks
at least five years and less than 10 years6 weeks
at least 10 years and less than8 weeks

Other laws can also influence termination, including the Human Rights Code, The Workplace Safety and Health Act, and the Labour Relations Act. Civil employment law can also have an impact. Questions about civil employment law should be answered by a lawyer. You can also consult our guide to reducing your exposure [RO1] when terminating an employee.

What can be deducted from employee wages?

Generally, you are allowed to deduct from wages for:

  • Items required by law (income taxes, EI premiums and CPP premiums)
  • Payments authorized by a court order (garnishments)
  • Cash advances or overpayment of wages
  • Something the employee has agreed to in writing that directly benefits them (savings plan contributions, group insurance premiums)

See our comprehensive guide to what you can and can’t deduct

Are there ways to manage my overtime costs?

The province offers a few tools for employers, including:

  • Averaging permits: If the standard hours of work (8 hours/day and 40 hours/week) don’t suit your business, you can apply to the province for an Averaging Permit, if 75% of the affected employees agree in writing to a new schedule. Learn more about this option from the Averaging Permits fact sheet.
  • Flex-time agreements: When the standard hours of work (8 hours/day and 40 hours/week) don’t suit an employee who works more than 35 hours in a week, he/she can ask you for an individual arrangement to adjust their schedule. More information is available on the Individual Flex-time Agreement fact sheet.
  • Banking Overtime: You can set up a written agreement with employees allowing them to bank overtime and take that time off later. One hour of overtime is banked as 1.5 hours. Time off is during regular working hours and must be scheduled within three months of it being earned. Insight is available from the Overtime fact sheet and section 18 of the Employment Standards Code.