What the Act says

The Act respecting labour standards contains provisions concerning wages that protect the majority of Québec workers, whether they are full or part time.

Minimum wage rates

The majority of workers are entitled to the minimum wage rates, which are set by the Government of Québec.

The minimum wage rates are:

Date

General rate

Rate for employees receiving tips

Rate for employees of the clothing industry *Footnote Reference;

May 1, 2014

$ 10,35 an hour

$8,90 an hour

$10,35 an hour

May 1, 2013

$10,15 an hour

$8,75 an hour

$10,15 an hour

The minimum wage rates are subject to change.

To check their validity, contact the Service des renseignements at the Commission des normes du travail.

If an employee receives from his employer benefits having a pecuniary value, such as the use of an automobile or accommodations, this must not reduce his wage below the minimum wage rate.

To learn about the history of the minimum wage in Québec, consult the table.

For specific information concerning employees receiving tips, consult section Wages-Employees receiving tips.

*Footnote  Employees who work in clothing stores are not part of the clothing industry.

Employees paid on commission or according to yield

An employee paid on commission or according to yield must always receive at least the minimum wage for the work he does. The right to the minimum wage applies to all employees, regardless of the method of payment.

Pickers of small fruit

Pickers of small fruit are individuals assigned to the manual harvest of raspberries or strawberries on behalf of a producer.

These employees are paid based on yield according to the following rates (May 1, 2014) :

Categories of employees

Rate

Raspberry pickers

$3.04 per kilogram

Strawberry pickers

$0.81 per kilogram

These employees are paid based on yield according to the following rates :

Categories of employees

Rate

Raspberry pickers

$2.98 per kilogram

Strawberry pickers

$0.79 per kilogram

When the yield is affected by the state of the fields and the fruit or reduced for reasons beyond the employee’s control, he is entitled to the general minimum wage rate. He must then receive the difference between this rate and the wage paid according to yield.

To determine if the state of the fields or the fruit influenced the yield, the yields of employee must be compared. If the wage of the majority of the other employees exceeds the minimum wage, it is not the state of the fields or the fruit that explain the employee’s lower yield, but rather the way he works. As a result, the employee will only receive his wage according to yield.

Examples

Special clothing

An employee cannot receive less than the minimum wage rate because the expenses related to the purchase, use or upkeep of special clothing used for his work have been deducted from his wage. In all cases, an employer who requires the wearing of special clothing must provide this clothing free of charge to an employee paid at the minimum wage.

The employer must also provide free of charge to all employees special clothing (example: jacket with logo) that identifies them as employees of his establishment. Finally, an employer cannot require that his employees purchase clothing or accessories that are in the employer’s trade.


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Use of material, equipment or merchandise

An employer who requires that his employee use material, equipment, raw materials or merchandise to carry out a contract must provide them free of charge to an employee paid at the minimum wage. In addition, he cannot require that an employee pay for the purchase, use or upkeep of these articles if this causes the employee’s wage to fall below the minimum rate.

An employer cannot require from an employee, regardless of his wage, a sum of money to pay for expenses related to the operations of the enterprise. In other words, the owner of a restaurant, for example, cannot deduct from an employee’s wage the replacement cost for dishes that the employee breaks. Losses resulting from shoplifting or pick-pocketing could also be considered operating expenses.

Meals and accomodation

An employee’s working conditions may require the employer to provide meals and accomodation or ensure that accomodation is provided to the employee. In this case, the maximum amount the employee at May 1, 2012 may be required to pay is:

Footnote 

* The amounts indicated are subject to change each year. To check their validity, contact the Commission des normes du travail’s Service des renseignements by telephone or consult its Web site.

Each employee must have a bed and a chest of drawers, and access to a toilet and a shower or bath.

Each employee housed in a dwelling must also have access to a washer and dryer, as well as to a kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, a stove and a microwave oven.

The employee cannot be required to pay any other costs related to the accomodation, such as the cost of having access to a kitchen, a living room or any other room.

Wage of part-time employees

An employer cannot give a part-time employee a wage that is lower than that of other employees who do the same work in the same establishment for the sole reason that this employee works fewer hours per week.

This provision does not apply to a part-time employee who earns more than twice the minimum wage.

Deductions

An employer has the right to make deductions from wages only if he is required to do so by a law, a regulation, a court order, a collective agreement, a decree or a mandatory supplemental pension plan. Any other deduction from wages may only be made with the employee’s written authorization. The specific purpose of this deduction must be mentioned in the authorization document. The employee may cancel the authorization at any time, except for mandatory supplemental pension plans or group insurance plans.

Differences in conditions of employment

An employer cannot give an employee who is subject to the Act respecting labour standards conditions of employment that are less advantageous than those of other employees doing the same work in the same establishment due to his hiring date.

These conditions of employment notably deal with:

  • wages
  • length of work
  • paid statutory holidays
  • annual vacation
  • rest periods
  • absences and leaves for family or parental reasons
  • notice of termination of employment.

To learn more, consult section Differences in conditions of employment

Exceptions

Some employees are excluded from the application of the minimum wage standard. They are:

  • a student employed in a social or community non-profit organization, such as a recreational organization or a vacation camp
  • a trainee within the context of vocational training recognized by a law
  • an employee entirely remunerated on commission who works outside the establishment and whose  hours of work cannot be controlled

How to calculate wages and overtime

The Commission des normes du travail puts at your disposal calculation tools which help establish the amounts to which an employee is entitled.

The calculation of the indemnity is different according to the employee’s remuneration method.

Calculation tools for wages and overtime for an:

 

Frequently asked questions

  1. Is an employer required to give pay raises?
    No. The employer has the choice as to whether or not he wishes to increase the wages of his employees. However, he must respect the minimum wage. Moreover, when the minimum wage increases, the employer is not required to increase wages that already exceed the minimum wage.

  2. Can an employer keep a percentage of his employees’ tips?
    No. These amounts belong exclusively to the employee who served the customers. When it is the employer who collects the tips, he is required to remit them in full to the employee assigned to serving the customers. The employer cannot decide to keep a portion or remit the portion, in whole or in part, to other employees not assigned to serving the customers.

  3. Can an employer ask an employee to arrive 15 minutes before the start of his scheduled shift?
    Yes. However, if the employer asks the employee to arrive 10 or 15 minutes earlier or to leave 10 or 15 minutes later, the employee must be paid for this time.
    All time worked or during which an employee is at his employer’s disposal must be paid. It is not the time when the enterprise’s doors open or close or the schedule that counts, but rather the length of time during which the employee is at his employer’s disposal.

  4. Must training be remunerated?
    Yes. When an employer requires that his employee take training, whether during or after working hours, the employer must reimburse his employee for his travel expenses, remunerate him for these hours, and take into account overtime, where applicable.

  5. Is an employer required to pay an evening or night premium?
    No. The decision lies with the employer. There is no mention of evening or night premiums in the Act respecting labour standards.

  6. Can an employer subtract the equivalent of 15 minutes of wages because the employee arrived 5 minutes late?
    No. An employer cannot subtract 15 minutes because the employee arrived a few minutes late. All time worked must be remunerated.

    The employer may, however, impose sanctions other than the withholding of wages.

  7. Is my employer required to weigh the containers of strawberries and raspberries that I filled before paying me?
    Yes. Since May 1, 2010, strawberry and raspberry producers have had to pay strawberry pickers $0.77 per kilogram and raspberry pickers $2.90 per kilogram. To pay the exact sums owing to employees, employers are required to weigh the containers filled by pickers.

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