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About the law
Human rights in workplaces
1. I'm 13 and my boss say he doesn't have to pay me minimum wage because I'm underage. Is that true?
Actually, because you're under 15, he's not allowed to hire you at all without permission from the director of employment standards. Since he won't even pay you minimum wage, it's unlikely the director would give permission.
Paying less than minimum wage is also illegal under the Employment Standards Act.
2. While I was on maternity leave, my employer hired someone else for my job. Now, what should I do?
Under B.C.'s Employment Standards Act, your employer must offer you the same or a comparable job when you return from leave. For example, you may have to switch from being manager of one department to manager of another, but not to being mailroom clerk. Certainly, your employer cannot fire you for taking maternity leave, which under the Act is a combination of "pregnancy leave" and "parental leave."
If you feel your employer has done something wrong under the Act, you can file a complaint with the director of employment standards. The complaint
must be in writing and filed within six months of the action in question.
3. My mom works for a packing plant. She's always working 12-hour shifts, but doesn't get paid overtime. Is this legal?
No, it isn't. Your mom is entitled to overtime wages of time-and-a-half for working more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, and double-time for more than 11 hours a day, or 48 hours a week. So, for a 12-hour shift at a regular wage of $8 per hour, she should be paid as follows:
Her employer must also allow her to take a half-hour or longer meal break at least every five hours.
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This page last updated: September 28, 1999
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