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Am I Legally Required to Work Overtime if Asked?

Employment Law | December 3, 2020

Working overtime is often a great opportunity to bolster one’s income, but it can also be a major inconvenience. While some employers do not offer overtime, for others it can be a part of their scheduling expectations. Many employees are often left wondering whether they are legally required to work overtime if asked, or if their employer is in violation of BC’s Employment Standards Act. Knowing the laws and standards regarding worker scheduling and hours is important for both employees and employers, so make sure that you talk to an employment lawyer to get any questions answered as needed.

Legal Requirements Regarding Overtime Work

In British Columbia, employers are required to pay time-and-a-half or double-time to an employee who works more than 8 hours in a day or more than 40 hours in a week, depending on the amount of overtime worked. Employees are entitled to at least 32 consecutive hours free from work each week and a minimum of 8 hours off in between each shift. Any hours worked during these periods entitle the employee to overtime, even if the amount of time worked comes to a total of fewer than 8 hours in their day or 40 hours in their week.

If an employee is working under an averaging agreement or a variance in their contract, these standards can be subject to change. Make sure to have an employment lawyer thoroughly examine your contract if you have any questions about overtime as it applies to your job.

Can an Employer Require Overtime?

Employers are usually within their legal rights to require an employee to work overtime, but the required overtime pay must be given. In BC, employers are able to terminate an employee’s position for almost any reason as long as they give that employee the proper notice or compensation. This means that, if an employee is not flexible enough with scheduling or willing to work the overtime that their employer requires, they can be given notice of termination.

Find out what qualifies as appropriate termination notice in British Columbia.

If you have any further questions about overtime you have been asked to work and the legal requirements surrounding overtime, or if you would like to learn more about the employment law services that we offer, please contact the experienced lawyers at Linley Welwood and we will help you to find the answers you need.


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