Can an employee receive zero vacation time in Ontario?

Can an employee receive zero vacation time in Ontario?

No, every salaried employee is entitled to a certain amount of vacation pay, however it is possible for an employer to refuse vacation time in certain circumstances.

The Employment Standards Act, 2000, outlines the minimum amount of vacation time which indicates an employee who works more than 12 months and less than five years is eligible for two weeks’ vacation time per year. An employee who has been working for their employer for more than five years qualifies for three weeks’ vacation time.

It is important to note that this amount is the minimum the ESA requires, meaning an employer cannot legally provide less than the amount of vacation time outlined above. An employer, however, may provide more.

These minimums ensure every salaried employee receives vacation, but employers may refuse a request based on the dates the vacation is planned. The ESA allows for the employer to reject vacation time because it is their responsibility to ensure that they have a complete staff during periods they need it most. For example, if there is a 3-week period where the company is the busiest, your employer can decline vacation during that peak.

Further, an employer commonly decides to manage vacation time for employees to guarantee they do in fact receive the minimum amount of vacation within the correct period. An employer must provide vacation time before the employee has worked for 22 months. They can provide vacation much sooner, but the latest possible time the ESA allows is limited to 22 months after the employee starts working. If the employer manages vacation, they can avoid employees surpassing this period, which would generate legal issues.

When scheduling vacation time, the ESA also provides that the minimum amount of time per vacation is one week. This is maintained unless the employee requests that their vacation time is cut shorter. If the employee decides to have a brief vacation, it doesn’t take away from receiving vacation days equivalent to two or three weeks in a year.

If you have not received the minimum amount of vacation time as a salaried employee, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.