Labour & Employment Law Blog

Professionals and the Employment Standards Act, 2000

Professionals and the Employment Standards Act, 2000

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) is legislation that applies to most employees in Ontario. Its purpose is to safeguard various workplace and employment-related norms throughout the province and is considered as providing a basic “floor of rights” to employees. In fact, even if you and your employer decide to contract out of a particular employment standard of the ESA on a mutual basis, such an agreement is unlawful and unenforceable.

However, certain professional employees will be surprised to find out that they are not actually entitled to some of the various employment standards as set out in the ESA and that are regarded as fundamental by most Ontarians. The fact is that some professional individuals occupying certain roles may not receive the statute’s full protection.

For instance, if you are an architect or an architecture student; an engineer or an engineering student; an information technology professional; a lawyer or an articling student; a public accountant or a public accountancy student; a surveyor or a surveying student or a teacher or a student training to be a teacher, you may not be entitled some or all of the following:

  1. minimum wage;
  2. daily or weekly limits on hours of work;
  3. daily rest periods;
  4. time off between shifts;
  5. weekly/bi-weekly rest periods;
  6. eating periods;
  7. overtime pay;
  8. sick leave, family responsibility leave or bereavement leave, if taking the leave would be professional misconduct or abandoning your duty;
  9. public holidays or public holiday pay; and,
  10. vacation with pay.

So, what does this mean? Are architects and engineers supposed to slave away from the moment of hiring to their retirement without taking a lunch break? The answer to this question is probably not. This is because the fact is that virtually all workplaces, regardless of whether those workplaces contain professional employees or not, will more than likely follow at least some of the above norms as set out in the ESA even though, statutorily, they don’t have to.

Moreover, any of the above statutorily exempt entitlements may (and often do) become a contractual term and, as such, form part of the parties’ express or implied workplace reality. Thus, for instance, if you’re a lawyer or an accountant and have agreed to an annual four-week vacation with your employer, depriving you of your time off will amount to a breach of the employment contract.

So, fear not: if you are a professional and have taken vacation in the past, do not cancel that long-awaited break with pay in the sun just yet, you’re probably entitled to it. And if, after all, you feel like you are being mistreated in the workplace, do not hesitate to give us a call!

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.