Reporting to Work Before Your Shift

"Hours of work" are defined as the hours or parts of hours that an employee performs work for an employer, including the time that the employee is required by the employer to be present and available to work. This means that employees must be paid for all hours of work, including overtime, and before or after a business opens if they are required to be there for any reason.

It is common for Employment Standards to identify employment issues that relate to hours of work. One example of this is in situations where employers ask employees to be at work prior to their scheduled shift start times.

While it is good practice for employees to be punctual, employers must be careful about "requiring" an employee to be at work for a specific time - as they may be required to pay the employee for that time.

Time free from work is time that employees should be free from all responsibility, and the employer has no direction and control over the employee. This can make it difficult in some circumstances, to enforce that employees be at work prior to their scheduled shift time unless they are being paid. 

Employment Standards has answered numerous inquiry phone calls and emails on the issue of working prior to scheduled shift start times and the following investigation was completed by Employment Standards on the issue:

Employment Standards received a tip from a caller about a grocery store not calculating hours of work properly. Specifically, employees were required to be at work 30 minutes prior to each shift without pay. In our review, we found that the employer was not keeping accurate records of hours worked, likely because employees were coming in early. After education from our Branch, the employer volunteered to correct the issues on their own. We issued a legal Notice to Comply, which allows us to issue an administrative penalty