Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Employment Standards Definition:

Entirely a creation of statute; minimum employee rights extended for work within the jurisdiction served by the relevant statute.

Also referred to as labour standards or labor standards.

Recognizing that non-unionized employees are substantially orphaned by the common law, and thus seeking to establish minimal rights to employees not served by a union or a collective bargaining agreement, many common law jurisdictions have established a set of minimal rights to all employees. These codes of minimum standards for working conditions are known as, for example, the Employment Standards Act (French: normes du travail).

The extend of coverage in the regional statutes is generally similar but does differs from jurisdiction on some essential points. For example, some employment standards statutes recognize sick leave, others do not.

Generally, the essential employment standards as set out in the statute relate to hours of work, notice of termination or minimal severance pay requirements, the employment of children, overtime pay, vacation pay and leave, statutory holidays and pregnancy leave.

The various statutes often creates an "employment standards" administrative tribunal with exclusive jurisdiction to deal with employer who have allegedly breached the statute.

Further, many jurisdictions also offer a supportive bureaucracy recognizing the economic disadvantage facing the employee when an employment standard may have been breached by the employer. These bureaucracies, which goes by a variety of names such as the "employment standards commission", receive complaints and investigate, with the cost of investigation absorbed by the government.


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