Area of Law: Employment Law
Answer # 597
Federal employeesRegion: 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.
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.
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 weeks 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
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
- 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.
Currently, the minimum wage for workers in the federally regulated private sector is $15.55 an hour. According to the Government of Canada:
“An employee should be paid at least the federal minimum wage. If the minimum wage of the province or territory where the employee usually works is higher than the federal minimum wage, the employer is to pay the higher minimum wage“.
For information on provincial and territorial minimum wages, view topic 585 Minimum wage and “room & board.
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. For legal help and assistance, contact an employment lawyer.
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