Overtime Pay in Quebec: What Employers Need to Know

Any employer who operates in Quebec knows that the province has some unique rules and regulations that can make calculating payroll a little tricker than in other provinces. However, when it comes to overtime pay in Quebec, things are actually pretty straightforward—for most professions that is.

This guide covers everything you need to know about overtime pay in Quebec, including how to calculate it properly and rules around banked time off. For other provinces, take a look at a breakdown of overtime pay in Canada.

Quebec Overtime Pay Rate

Like most provinces, Quebec’s overtime pay rate is 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay—also known as “time and a half.”

In Quebec, the standard workweek for most employees is 40 hours. This means that most employees are entitled to overtime pay for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours per week.  This means that even if an employee’s regular workweek is 32 hours, overtime is only paid for more than 40 hours worked in a week.

Keep in mind that statutory holidays and vacation are counted as days worked for the purpose of calculating overtime pay in Quebec.

Special Rules and Exceptions

In Quebec, there are some employees whose normal workweek is not 40 hours. For these employees, the length of their standard workweek is as follows:

  • Clothing industry employees: 39 hours
  • Watchmen guarding property on behalf of a surveillance service firm: 44 hours
  • Watchmen who do not work for surveillance service firm: 60 hours
  • Employees working in a forestry operation or a sawmill: 47 hours
  • Employees who work on the James Bay territory or in another remote area: 55 hours

Additionally, some employees are totally or partially excluded from overtime pay.

Staggers of Working Hours

Most provinces allow averaging agreements, whereby employers can average an employee’s work hours over a given period. In Quebec, staggering work hours is a similar arrangement.

If granted authorization by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, an employer may stagger an employee’s working hours over several weeks. Any request to stagger hours must include: 

  • The advantage to the employee derived from the absence of overtime pay at time and a half
  • The signatures of the employee(s)
  • Demonstrate that employees were made aware of the consequences related to the staggering request and the advantages derived from it
  • Prove that the request is not a way to circumvent the payment of overtime beyond the normal 40-hour workweek in Québec

The following conditions also apply to staggering agreements:

  • The maximum duration of the agreement is six months
  • The agreement must be in writing at least 30 days before the start of the first staggering period covered by the agreement
  • The working hours are staggered on a maximum period of four weeks
  • A workweek may not exceed by more than 10 hours the norm found in the law or in the regulations

Calculating Overtime Pay in Quebec

As mentioned above, calculating overtime pay in Quebec is fairly simple, especially since the province does not have a daily overtime threshold. To illustrate this, we’ll use the example of Marc, who earns $24.00 per hour at a library.

In one week, Marc works 44 hours. Since the overtime threshold is 40 hours, Marc is entitled to four hours of overtime pay. Since his overtime rate is 1½  times his regular hourly pay, Marc should receive $36 for each overtime hour worked ($24.00 x 1.5 = $36.00).

His weekly pay should be calculated as follows:

  • Regular pay: 40 hours x $24.00 = $960
  • Overtime pay: 4 hours x $36.00 = $144
  • Marc’s total pay: $960 + $144 = $1,104

Calculating Overtime With Premiums

Keep in mind that the above example did not take into account premiums. Below, we’ll cover an example of how to calculate overtime pay in Quebec with premiums.

Let’s take the example of Connie, who works night shifts. Connie’s regular wage is $20.00 per hour, plus a night shift premium of $1.50 per hour.

For every overtime hour worked, Connie earns $30.00, which is one and a half times her regular salary of $20 per hour, plus a premium of $1.50 per hour if she is working a night shift.

Agreements for Banked Time Off

At the employee’s request, employers may replace overtime payments with paid time off. The employee must receive 1.5 hours of paid time off for each overtime hour worked.

For example, if Émilie works eight hours of overtime in addition to her normal workweek, she can take one and a half days (or 12 hours) of paid time off.

The Right to Refuse Work

In Quebec, there is strict legislation on how long employees can be asked to work. For employers, it’s important to know that employees have the right to refuse work under the following conditions:

  • If they are asked to work more than two hours beyond their regular hours or more than 14 hours in a 24-hour period (whichever is shorter).
  • If they are asked to work more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period (applies to employees whose daily working hours are variable or non-continuous).
  • If they haven’t been informed that they would be required to work five days in advance, unless the nature of their function requires that they remain available.
  • If they are asked to work more than 50 hours in a week, (unless their working hours are staggered); for employees who work in a remote area or on the James Bay territory, they may refuse work if asked to work more than 60 hours in a week.

Beyond the length of a shift or workweek, employees in Quebec can also refuse work if:

  • The life, health, or safety of workers or the public is endangered.
  • If there is a risk of destruction of, or serious damage to, property and buildings.
  • If this refusal violates the employee’s professional code of ethics.

Additionally, an employer cannot force an employee to work overtime if they must see to the care, health, or education of their child, their partner's child, or someone close to them for whom they are the caregiver. However, the employee must take all reasonable steps to take care of their responsibilities without missing work, such as trying to hire a babysitter or caregiver.

Though calculating overtime pay in Quebec may not too difficult, there are a number of special rules and exemptions to take into account. To make sure you’re up to date on the latest rules and legislation, read more about the Workplace Protections in Quebec.

Looking for more overtime payroll help? Check out our guides on:

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