Federal employees

Region: Ontario Answer # 597

If your employer is regulated by federal law, you are considered an employee under federal authority, and you are covered by a different set of rules than most other employees in Ontario. Employees under federal authority include employees of the federal government, banks, airlines, railways, telecommunications, Aboriginal bands, interprovincial transportation, the post office, and radio and television stations. The Canada Labour Code sets out the main rules that apply to your employment, including hours of work, vacation entitlement, paid holiday, maternity and parental leave, and minimum wage.

Hours of work

Generally, an employee under federal authority is not supposed to work more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. There are certain exemptions allowing up to 48 hours per week and situations where an employer can apply for a permit to have a longer work week. If the employee works more than 40 hours a week, the employer generally must pay time and a half for every hour over 40 hours worked.


An employee under federal authority has the right to take two week’ vacation after the first year of working, or to get an amount equal to 4% of their yearly salary as vacation pay if they do not take a vacation. After the employee has worked for five years in a row, the employee has the right to three weeks vacation or 6% vacation pay.After 10 years of employment, employees are entitled to 4 weeks vacation, or 8% vacation pay.

Paid public holidays

Employees under federal authority are entitled to take between 9 and 11 paid public holidays, depending on the province. They are: 1) New Year’s Day, 2) Family Day 3) Good Friday, 4) Easter Monday, 5) Victoria Day, 6) Canada Day, 7) Labour Day, 8) Thanksgiving Day, 9) Remembrance Day, 10) Christmas Day, and 11) Boxing Day.


Maternity and parental leave

Employees under federal authority can take maternity and parental leave as of their first day of employment.

Maternity leave: A natural mother has the right to up-to 17 weeks of maternity leave.

Parental leave: An employee who assumes actual care of a newborn or newly adopted child is eligible for up-to 63 weeks of parental leave. If both parents work for federally regulated employers, their combined parental leave cannot be more than 63 weeks. Parents can take their parental leave at the same time, or one after the other.

A natural mother can take both maternity and parental leave, but the total duration of maternity and parental leaves combined cannot exceed 78 weeks.

Other types of leave

Federal employees are also entitled to a number of other types of leave, including:

  • medical leave
  • personal leave
  • leave for work-related illness or injury
  • compassionate care leave
  • leave related to critical illness
  • bereavement leave
  • leave related to death or disappearance
  • reservist leave
  • leave for traditional Indigenous practices
  • leave for victims of family violence
  • leave for court or jury duty

For information on employee leave, refer to Part Three, Labour Standards of the Canada Labour Code.


Minimum wage

In Ontario, all employees including those under federal authority must be paid at least minimum wage, unless they are being trained or they are in a licensed apprentice program.

If you are unsure about your rights as an employee under federal authority, or for more information, view the Government of Canada’s labour standards for federal workers.

A criminal record will appear on an employment police check and will affect your ability to get or keep a job. To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-877-219-1644 or learn more at Federal Pardon Waiver Services. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with employment matters, contact our preferred Employment lawyers, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP .

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