Employers employing students for the summer must be aware of the employment laws governing young workers. Young employees in Ontario face certain restrictions in work hours and types of work and must be paid a student minimum wage in certain situations. Unless a student is part of a work experience program authorized by their school and accordingly exempt from the Employment Standards Act (ESA), employers must provide them with the minimum employment standards set out in the ESA. Additionally, employers must comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) by protecting their student employees from workplace hazards and providing them with training and supervision when required. Set out below are a few key considerations when employing students.
At what age can students start working?
While the Ontario Ministry of Labour defines a young worker as any employee under the age of 25, the ESA does not set out a minimum age for work.
The OHSA does, on the other hand, set the minimum age based on the industry/workplace. For example, students may start working at the age of 14 in industrial establishments such as stores, offices, and restaurant serving areas. For work in factories (which includes restaurant kitchens, warehouses, and auto service garages), student workers must be at least 15 years of age. To work in construction, young workers must be aged 16 or older.
In addition, under the Education Act, with certain exceptions, students under the age of 16 are not allowed to work during school hours.
Student Minimum Wage
Young workers aged 18 and older must be paid the general minimum wage, which is $14.00 per hour. Student employees aged 17 and younger must be paid the student minimum wage of $13.15 per hour when they work 28 hours or less in a week during the school year or when they work during school breaks; otherwise, such student employees must be paid the general minimum wage.
Health and Safety
New and young workers are particularly susceptible to being injured in the workplace. As such, they must be made aware of any potential health and safety hazards in the workplace when they start their employment. Employers should also provide supervision when necessary and extra training to students who have either never worked before or are new to the industry. Training should provide instruction to student employees on how to safely carry out job duties and explain the company’s policies and procedures.
Do you have questions about laws governing student summer employment?
Speak with our HR experts to find out more about the laws governing student summer employment. For clarification on minimum wage rates and work restrictions for young workers.
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