LABOUR LAW

Magali Cournoyer-Proulx - Partner, Labour, Employment, and Human Rights

Every time you hire an employee, you must discuss salary, working conditions and employee benefits, if any, regardless of the employee’s qualifications.

In Québec, some employment contract rules are intended to promote a positive work environment. You should clearly inform all new employees of their responsibilities, specific duties and working conditions.

All those items should be included in an employment contract that will also contain non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure clauses designed to protect you. The contract must be drafted in French, unless you agree on another language with the employee.

Here are the minimum conditions laid down in the Québec Labour Act:

  • The minimum wage is $11.25 per hour (May 2017).
  • The regular workweek is 40 hours. Hours worked beyond the regular workweek are paid at time and a half (some exceptions apply).
  • All employees get eight statutory holidays per year, paid by the employer.
  • Employees are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation after one year of service and to at least three weeks of vacation after five years.
  • The parents of a newborn or adopted child are entitled to 18 weeks of maternity leave (or five weeks of paternity leave) AND to 52 weeks of parental leave, without pay.
  • If you want to terminate an employee who has more than three months of service, you must give the employee notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice.
  • Termination of employment for 10 or more employees over two months is considered a mass layoff and is subject to specific rules.

Employers are not required to provide employee benefits (e.g., group insurance, retirement plans), but offering such benefits can make recruitment easier and drive employee retention.