Manitoba Employment Standards Code: An Overview for Employers

  • Employment Standards
Olivia Cicchini

Olivia Cicchini, Employment Law Expert

(Last updated )

The Manitoba Employment Standards Code (ESC) sets down the minimum standards for basic conditions of employment, such as minimum wage, hours of work, leaves of absence, overtime, and termination notice and pay.

Who does the Manitoba Employment Standards Code apply to?

Manitoba’s Employment Standards Code applies to all provincially regulated employees regardless of the number of hours they work. Employees in federally regulated workplaces are covered by the Canada Labour Code.

Who is excluded from the Manitoba Employment Standards Code?

Independent contractors are not covered by the Employment Standards Code as they are not employees. Other employees, such as part-time domestic workers, election workers, some agricultural workers, professionals, construction workers and landscape workers qualify for some employment standards but not all.

What are some important areas of employment covered under the Manitoba Employment Standards Code?

Some major areas covered by the Manitoba Employment Standards Code include:

Minimum wage

Minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can legally pay their staff. If they wish to, employers are free to pay higher wages or provide more benefits to their employees. But they can’t pay less than the minimum entitlements outlined in the Employment Standards Code.

The minimum wage in Manitoba will increase to $15.30 per hour on October 1, 2023 from $14.15 per hour. Minimum wage increases in Manitoba is based on the province’s Consumer Price Index and take effect on October 1st every year.

General holidays

 Manitoba has eight statutory holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Louis Riel Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

There are two types of payment for statutory holidays. Employees who consistently work the same number of hours get one regular workday’s pay as general or stat holiday pay. For employees whose hours of work or wages vary, stat holiday pay is calculated at 5% of the gross wages (not including overtime) in the four-week period immediately before the holiday.

Are all employees entitled to statutory holiday pay?

All employees must receive stat holiday pay unless they are:

  • Scheduled to work on a stat holiday but take a leave of absence without the employer’s permission.
  • Absent without the employer’s permission from their last scheduled workday before the stat holiday, or their first scheduled workday after the holiday.
  • Election officials, enumerators and any other temporary person appointed under The Elections Act do not receive stat holiday pay.

Please note that an employee’s tenure does not affect the stat holiday pay requirement. If an employee starts the employment one day before the general holiday, they would be entitled to 5% of the wages earned on that day as stat holiday pay.


Like many other jurisdictions, overtime in Manitoba is paid at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly wage. The weekly threshold for overtime pay is 40 hours and the daily threshold is eight hours.

It is important to note that even if an employer pays overtime, employees are entitled to a rest period of no less than 24 consecutive hours each week. Domestic and residential care workers must receive at least 36 consecutive hours of rest each week.

Some employees are exempt from the overtime provisions in the ESC. Election officials, enumerators and any other temporary worker hired under The Elections Act are not entitled to overtime.

Another group of workers that are exempt from earning overtime are employees who have substantial control over their hours of work and earn a regular annual income of at least two times the Manitoba average industrial wage; both criteria are required for an employee to be exempt from overtime.

Vacation time and pay

Like other provinces such as Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, employees in Manitoba must receive at least two weeks of vacation after each of the first four years of employment. After completing five years of work with the same employer, employees must receive a minimum of three weeks of vacation.

Vacation pay in Manitoba is calculated based on the employee’s gross earnings in the previous year. Employees who are entitled to two weeks of vacation as described above receive 4% of their gross wages as vacation pay and employees with three weeks’ vacation receive 6%.

Employers can decide when vacation pay is paid out. However, it must be paid no later than the last day of work before the vacation and within 10 months of earning it.

Job-protected leaves of absence

There are 14 leaves employees in Manitoba may utilize without fear of losing their job. Theses leaves are:

  • Maternity Leave
  • Parental Leave
  • Family Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Compassionate Care Leave
  • Long-Term Leave for Serious Injury or Illness
  • Interpersonal Violence Leave
  • Citizenship Leave
  • Leave Related to Critical Illness
  • Leave Related to Death or Disappearance of a Child
  • Reservist Leave
  • Leave for Organ Donation
  • Public Health Emergency Leave
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Leave

All employees are eligible to take a leave if they meet the qualifying period of employment for the leave (the qualifying periods range from 30 days to seven months of employment).

Employers are not required to pay wages to employees while on any of the above-mentioned leaves. For all leaves, the Manitoba Employment Standards Code only requires employers to provide the time off and allow employees to return to their job when the leave has ended. The only exceptions under the Employment Standards Code where an employer is required to pay a portion of a leave is under the Domestic Violence Leave and the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave.

Temporary layoffs

In Manitoba, a temporary layoff is defined as a temporary break in employment where employees are likely to return to work. Employers do not need to provide notice to employees that they are being laid off. However, if the temporary layoff lasts longer than eight weeks in a 16-week period, the layoff becomes a termination and notice of termination or pay in-lieu is required.

In some circumstances, employees can be laid off for longer than eight weeks in a 16-week period without triggering a termination. These limited circumstances include:

  • When employers continue to pay wages or payments instead of wages to employees, or
  • When employers continue to make payments to pension plans and/or group insurance plans on behalf of employees.

Termination of employment

Termination of employment in Manitoba is very similar to other jurisdictions. If an employee is being terminated on a without cause basis, they are entitled to a notice of termination or pay in-lieu of notice.

Notice requirement for terminations or layoffs

The minimum notice period for termination or layoff is determined by the employee's length of service with the company. In general, the minimum notice period is at least 30 days.

Here is a breakdown of when you give notice to the employee:

  • less than one year - one week.
  • At least one year and less than three years - two weeks.
  • At least three years and less than five years - four weeks.
  • At least five years and less than 10 years - six weeks.
  • At least 10 years - eight weeks.

Employees are not owed notice of termination or pay in-lieu if they:

  • have less than 30 days of service
  • are being terminated for just cause; or
  • resign (note that for a resignation, employees with at least 30 days but less than one year of service must provide the employer with one weeks’ notice and employees with at least one year of service must provide the employer with two weeks’ notice).

Employees who do not have an employment contract – or employees who have an employment contract that does not contain a valid termination clause – are entitled to reasonable notice of termination at common law.

Employers who have good reason or just cause to terminate an employee without notice must be able to provide sufficient evidence. Please note that employers cannot terminate employees for exercising their rights under the ESC.

Are there any other laws besides the Employment Standards Code that affect Manitoba workplaces?

Yes. Besides the Manitoba Employment Standards Code, other important employment-related legislation includes the Manitoba Human Rights Code, the Workplace Safety and Health Act, the Workers Compensation Act, the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, the Construction Industry Wages Act, and the Pay Equity Act.

How do I contact Employment Standards in Manitoba?

The Employment Standards office enforces the Manitoba Employment Standards Code, among other employment-related legislation. You can contact the Manitoba Employment Standards by calling them at 204-945-3352 or toll free in Manitoba at 1-800-821-4307.

Do you need help staying compliant with the Manitoba Employment Standards Code?

As a trusted HR and health & safety consulting company, Peninsula serves over 6,500 businesses across Canada. We provide 24/7 advice and support and can help you update workplace documentation and policies to meet the latest regulatory requirements. To learn more, speak to an expert today at 1 (833) 247-3652

This article provides a brief overview of Manitoba’s Employment Standards Code (ESC). It is not a legal document. For more details, please refer to the ESC.

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