Overtime Pay – Who Gets It & When?

With skyrocketing inflation and costs of living, overtime pay can be a great way for employees to earn extra money.  However, outside of governmental and unionized work environments most employers are not enthused to have to pay more into wages with overhead already being high.

At the end of the day entitlement has less to do with an employee or employees wants as it does a function of hours worked, employee duties and obligations, and the law regarding overtime pay in British Columbia.

Hourly vs. Salaried Workers

For employees paid by the hour the overtime pay structure is mandated by provincial legislation.  Hourly employees are paid 1.5 times their hourly rate for any time worked over 8 hours a day up to 12 hours. Any time worker over 12 hours attracts 2 times their hourly rate.  While employees can contract into further entitlements, this is the base entitlement to overtime for hourly workers in British Columbia.

What most employees and employers in British Columbia don’t realize is that it is not just hourly employees who are entitled to overtime in BC. Salaried employees are also entitled to overtime pay just like an hourly worker.  This can be quite a surprise to businesses that require staff to work outside of regular retail hours in order to get projects accomplished. Often in professional offices like you’d find for dentists or doctors, lawyers, architects, banking and investment professionals and others, staff has to stay late some day to help get things done. Overtime these hours can build up and salaried employees can approach an employer to demand these hours be paid on a overtime basis.

If an employer wishes to ensure that employees don’t work overtime hours entitling them to higher rates of pay they need to be cognizant of the hours their employees are working and take proactive steps to ensure they don’t receive a surprise demand for overtime that they don’t have the resources to pay.

While it’s clear that standard employees can receive overtime pay, regardless of whether or not it is contemplated in their employment agreement, can a manager get overtime pay? As with most legal questions the answer is: that depends.

Pursuant to the BC Employment Standard Regulations, managers are exempt from overtime pay under the Employment Standards Act.  However, this begs the important question: how do you know if an employee is a manager or not?

Who Is A Manager?

Under the relevant law a manager is someone who is employed in an executive capacity and whose main employment responsibilities involve supervising and/or directing human resources (employees) or other resources.

Simply having the title of “manager” in your employment agreement will not be persuasive to a Court or tribunal as to whether or not a worker is a manager.  The employees’ actual duties and responsibilities will be examined to ensure they meet the legal definition of “manager”.  Moreover, it will not be enough to show that the employee has responsibilities involving supervising and/or directing human, or other, resources. You would need to show that this is a substantial aspect of their employment and not simply a small, ancillary aspect of their employment.

When Can A Manager Get Overtime?

Generally speaking, managers are an exempt class of worker under the BC Employment Standard Regulations when it comes to overtime pay.  However, there are fact patterns that could give rise to an entitlement to overtime for managers.

The first, and most obvious scenario that could give rise to entitlement to overtime pay for managers is when the employee is a manager in name only. As discussed above, a title alone is not determinative and if an employee with the title of manager fails to meet the legal requirements to meet the definition of a “manager” then they would de facto be entitled to overtime pay.

Managers could also be entitled to overtime pay if their employment agreement specified exactly how many hours, they are expected to work for their set remuneration. If the employment contract specifies the exact hours expected of the manager to works for their salary and then the manager works hours more than that set time frame, the amount of work spent over and above the set time frame would likely attract overtime pay as that employment was outside the scope of the employment agreement and the managers enumerated duties and obligations.

Overtime Takeaways

For both employees and employers it is important to understand your rights and obligations when it comes to overtime pay. Having a clear understanding between both parties can go a long way towards litigation avoidance in the future and to creating a better workplace relation in the long run.

If you have a legal issue with respect to overtime pay contact the experienced employment lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP today.