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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. Whether you have been fired or are away from work for an extended period, for reasons such as maternity leave or illness, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

For more information relating to federally regulated employment, visit canada.ca.

Who is considered a federal employee?

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.

General minimum age for employment: The general minimum age for employment is 18.

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 has the right to take two weeks vacation with pay after the first year of working. The vacation pay is based on 4% of their wages. After the employee has worked for five years in a row, the employee has the right to three weeks vacation with pay (at 6% of their wages). After 10 years of employment, employees are entitled to 4 weeks vacation with pay (at 8% of their wages).

Paid public holidays

Employees under federal authority are entitled to take to a day off with pay for the following 10 days, which are called general holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (observed on September 30)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day


Maternity and parental leave

Maternity leave: The Canada Labour Code allows 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 (they do not have to be the same employer), they are entitled to an additional 8 weeks of leave; bringing their combined parental leave to up-to 71 weeks. Parents can take their parental leave at the same time, or one after the other.

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

Parents who share their parental leave, and combine their maternity and parental leaves are entitled to up-to 86 weeks of total leave.

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 (for employees who are a family member of a critically ill child or adult)
  • 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


Minimum wage

Effective April 1, 2024 the minimum wage for workers in the federally regulated private sector is $17.30 an hour. If the minimum wage of the province or territory where the employee usually works is higher than the federal minimum wage, the employer must pay the higher minimum wage.

More info

For information on provincial and territorial minimum wages, view topic 585 Minimum wage and “room & board.

For the most up-to-date information on federal employee labour standards, including further details on hours of work, leaves (what is paid, and what is unpaid), job protection, vacation time, and termination of employment, refer to canada.ca.

Get help

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, learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

Whether you have been fired or are away from work for an extended period, for reasons such as maternity leave or illness, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

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