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Pay

It's pay day! The best part of having a job.

This section outlines your employer's responsibilities for paying you.


Table of Contents
  1. When should I be paid?
  2. When should I be paid if I'm on commission?
  3. How should wages and vacation pay be paid?
  4. How am I paid when my job is over?
  5. What information should I get about the wages I am paid?
  6. What information do I get about any vacation pay I receive?
  7. What kind of deductions can my employer make?
  8. Can room and board be deducted?
  9. What kind of deductions can my employer not make?
  10. What if I think my employer is not following the ESA?
  11. Can I see the ESA?

When should I be paid? Top

Employers must establish a recurring pay period with a regular pay day for employees. The regular pay day could be bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly or any other specified period chosen by the employer.

An employer has to pay all the wages earned in each pay period (except vacation pay that is accumulating) no later than the employee's pay day for the period.

When should I be paid if I'm on commission? Top

Some employees earn commissions or "bonuses" based on sales made in a pay period. In these situations, the employment contract or the practice of the employer often provides that the commission or bonus isn't "due and owing" or "earned" until some point in the future.

For example, your contract could specify that you have earned a commission when the goods have been delivered to the customer and full payment is received. In such cases, the commission or bonus isn't necessarily "earned" in the pay period in which the sales are actually made, because the contract provides for the commission to be "earned" and paid only when the customer pays for the goods and that may not happen until sometime after the sale is actually made.

There are special rules about when employees must be paid their vacation pay. See Vacation pay for further information.

How should wages and vacation pay be paid? Top

An employer may pay wages, including vacation pay, by:

  • cash
  • cheque payable only to the employee
  • direct deposit into the employee's account at a bank or other financial institution.

If payment is by cash or cheque, you must be paid the wages at the workplace or at some other place you agree to in writing.

If the wages are paid by direct deposit, the account must be in your name and no one else can have access to it unless you have authorized it. The branch or facility of the financial institution must be within a reasonable distance from where you usually work, unless otherwise agreed to, in writing.

For information about how much you should be paid, see Minimum wage.

How am I paid when my job is over? Top

If you stop working, your employer must pay your outstanding wages, including vacation pay (plus any payments due to you because the employment has ended) no later than:

seven days after the employment ends

OR

on what would ordinarily have been your next pay day

whichever is later.

What information should I get about the wages I am paid? Top

On or before pay day, your employer must provide you with a wage statement (or "pay stub") which sets out:

  • the pay period for which the wages are being paid
  • the wage rate, if there is one
  • the gross amount of wages and -- unless you are given the information in some other way (such as in an employment contract) -- how the gross wages were calculated
  • the amount and purpose of each deduction
  • any amounts that were paid for room or board and
  • the net amount of wages.

The wage statement must be in writing but can be provided by email if you have access to some means of making a paper copy.

This information must appear separately from your pay cheque.

What information do I get about any vacation pay I receive? Top

If you agreed in writing to be paid vacation pay as it is earned on each pay cheque, the employer must:

report the vacation pay that is being paid on the wage statement, separately from the amount of other wages

OR

provide a separate statement reporting the vacation pay that is being paid.

In all other cases, an employee is entitled to request (in writing) a statement regarding vacation time and pay earned and taken for every completed stub period and/or vacation entitlement period. Upon such request, the employer is required to provide this information no later than:

  • seven days after the end of the stub period or vacation entitlement period, or
  • the first pay day after the end of the stub period or vacation entitlement period,

whichever is later.

The employer is required to provide the information with respect to each completed stub period or vacation entitlement period only once.

For more information about vacation entitlements see Vacation pay.

What kind of deductions can my employer make? Top

Your employer can make only three kinds of deductions from your wages including vacation pay. These deductions are:

1. Statutory deductions

Federal and provincial statutes sometimes require an employer to withhold or make deductions from an employee's wages. For example, employers are required to make deductions for income taxes, employment insurance premiums and Canada Pension Plan contributions.

An employer isn't allowed to deduct more than the law says and can't make deductions if the money isn't forwarded to the proper authority.

2. Court order

A court order may say that an employee owes money either to the employer or to someone else and that the employer can make a deduction from the employee's wages.

If you owe money to someone else other than your employer, your employer may receive a court order directing him or her to make a deduction and send the money to the third party. Your employer isn't allowed to make this deduction if the money isn't properly forwarded to the third party.

3. Written authorization

An employer may also deduct money from an employee's wages if the employee has signed a written statement authorizing the deduction.

An employee's written authorization must state that a deduction from wages is allowed to be valid. The authorization must also:

specify the amount of money to be deducted

OR

provide a method of calculating the specific amount of money to be deducted.

A general statement or "blanket authorization" that an employee owes money to the employer under certain circumstances isn't sufficient to allow a deduction from wages if no specific amount or method of calculating a specific amount is set out. An employee's oral authorization to make deductions is also not valid.

Can room and board be deducted? Top

When calculating your wages, employers can take into account the room and board they provide. Please see Minimum wage for more information.

What kind of deductions can my employer not make? Top

Even with a signed authorization, your employer cannot make a deduction from your wages if:

  • the deduction is supposed to cover a loss due to "faulty work". For example, "faulty work" could be a mistake in a credit card transaction or work that is spoiled or rejected

OR
  • the employer has a cash shortage or has had property lost or stolen when an employee didn't have sole access to the cash or property that is lost or stolen. A deduction can only be made if:
    • you were the only person to have access to the cash or property, and
    • you have provided a written authorization to the employer to make the deduction.

What if I think my employer is not following the ESA? Top

What if I think my employer is not following the ESA?

Can I see the ESA? Top

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Resources Top

Government:
Ontario Ministry of Labour
Employment Standards



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