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Hours of Work, Workload, and Overtime (OPS)

❗ Workloads and the COVID-19 pandemic

During any crisis there may greater demands placed on you and your colleagues—which could result in new work assignments and an increased workloads.

Some members in the OPS have experienced an increase in their daily work since the COVID-19 pandemic started. It is helpful to keep track of the extra tasks and the additional time spent performing them. If your workload becomes excessive, you should discuss it with your manager. 

If you think your workload is excessive, consider asking your manager the following questions:

  1. What is the anticipated duration of the extra work?
  2. Can some of your existing work be reassigned?
  3. Are tasks evenly distributed in your work unit?

Work with your manager to see if you can come up with a solution together. If they are not open to a solution, ask for reasons.

More on refusing overtime and the impact of overtime on mental and physical health »

See updates for members on COVID-19 »


Contents

Introduction

Your hours of work and overtime

Full-time employees

Part-time employees

Refusing overtime and the impact of overtime on mental and physical health

When and how to request extra work time

If you need to request extra work time

After you work the overtime

How to take your accumulated compensating leave time

If you still have remaining leave time on December 31

Shift premium

Frequently asked questions

If you have questions or need assistance


Introduction

The ability to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of your employment, including your hours of work and overtime, is an important advantage of being a unionized professional.

Your Collective Agreement defines the parameters of hours of work and overtime in Article 46.


Your hours of work and overtime

The regular work week is 36.25 hours of work.

You may also work with your manager to establish an alternative work arrangement, such as a compressed work week, flexible hours, or telecommuting. See our fact sheet on alternative work arrangements for more.

All overtime hours must be authorized by your manager and recorded in WIN. While it is not required for you to see pre-approval to work overtime hours, it is a best practice to seek their approval beforehand. See below for more information.

Full-time employees

Full-time employees, whether permanent or fixed term, in the Ontario Public Service are entitled to receive compensating leave time of:

  • 1 hour for each hour worked in between 36.25 hours and 44 hours per work week;
  • 1.5 hours for each hour worked more than 44 hours per work week; and
  • 1.5 hours for each hour worked on your regularly scheduled day off.

Part-time employees

If you are a part-time employee, whether permanent or fixed term, in the Ontario Public Service who is typically scheduled to work less than 36.25 hours per week:

  • you will be paid at your normal rate for any hours worked up until 36.25 hours per week; and
  • after that, you will receive compensating leave time as follows:
    • 1 hour for each hour worked in between 36.25 hours and 44 hours per work week;
    • 1.5 hours for each hour worked more than 44 hours per work week; and
    • 1.5 hours for each hour worked on a Saturday or Sunday.

Refusing overtime and the impact of overtime on mental and physical health

Frequent overtime can be stressful, affect your work-life balance, and lead to burn-out. If frequent overtime demands are becoming a challenge, please seek the assistance of an OPS Workplace Representative in your District.  

If the stress, timing, or other factors associated with overtime demands are significantly impacting your mental or physical health, it may be necessary to request a disability and/or family status accommodation.

See our fact sheet on workplace accommodation »


When and how to request extra work time

If you need to request extra work time:

  • Whenever possible, you should request authorization to work overtime from your manager before you work the overtime. While it is not required, it is a best practice.
  • Decide whether you want to be compensated for your overtime with either compensating leave time, or pay-in-lieu. If you want pay-in-lieu, you must request it when you work the overtime.

After you work the overtime:

  • Record them in WIN and have them approved by your manager.
  • We recommend you track your overtime hours and tasks in your own document, as well.

How to take your accumulated compensating leave time

Requesting your time off

  • You can request to take your accumulated compensating leave time at any time.
  • As with any time off, it should be mutually agreed upon between you and your supervisor, but they cannot unreasonably deny your request.

If you would prefer to receive pay instead

  • You must make a request to receive pay in lieu of compensating leave time when you work the overtime.
  • Payments will be made within two months of the pay period in which you worked the overtime hours.

If you still have remaining leave time on December 31

  • Work with your supervisor to mutually agree on a schedule for you to take your leave before June 30 of the following year. If you do not agree, your manager can determine this schedule themselves.
  • Any remaining leave not taken by June 30 of the following year will be paid to you as a lump sum based on your salary rate when you earned the leave time.

Shift premium

If your regularly scheduled hours are between 5 pm and 7 am, you will receive a shift premium of $0.98 for each hour worked during those times.

If more than 50% of your regularly scheduled hours are between 5 pm and 7 am, you will receive the shift premium for all hours worked, even if they are outside 5 pm and 7 am.

You are not entitled to this shift premium if:

  • your regularly scheduled hours of work are not between 5 pm and 7 am; or
  • you worked between 5 pm and 7 am for mutually agreed upon reasons.

Frequently asked questions

As part of the pandemic response, employees in my unit are required to work a rotating overtime shift. Can I refuse this overtime work?

Management rights give your Employer the right and authority to manage the business and direct the workforce, including to assign and direct employees. Generally, you are not permitted to refuse a work assignment, but there are exceptions if it is unsafe work, illegal, etc.

You should speak with your manager and/or a Workplace Representative:

  • if you are not being compensated for your overtime;
  • if you have worked more than 60 hours in one week;
  • if due to illness or injury you are unable to work overtime and a workplace accommodation is required; or
  • if you are unable to work overtime because of family-related responsibilities.

❗ Given my increased child care and/or elder care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am unable to work extra hours. Can I refuse overtime requests made by my manager?

Where child care or elder care responsibilities affect your ability to work overtime, please discuss how to request a family status accommodation with an OPS Workplace Representative in your District.

Can my supervisor ask me to work overtime without compensation?

No.

Your supervisor or another Employer representative cannot, and should not, request or permit you to work overtime without compensation when that work would otherwise be compensated.

I forgot to request approval for overtime in advance. Can I still be compensated for it?

The first step is to speak with your manager.

Before you meet with your manager, consider summarizing all the overtime you worked and the associated tasks.

Can't I manage overtime informally? Do I have to record my overtime hours in WIN?

You should always record overtime hours in WIN, for two reasons:

  1. If a dispute were to arise about overtime, it would be difficult to build a case if no formal claims were made.
  2. Significant overtime claims can be a signal to your Employer that the workload is not sustainable and more staff positions are needed.

If I work overtime but do not want to take compensating leave time, can I still be compensated?

You can request pay-in-lieu of compensating leave, but you must do so when you work the overtime.

Can I submit a claim for overtime if I am required to carry a mobile phone or computer for work?

Maybe.

Carrying a mobile phone or computer for work is not considered overtime.

However, if there is an expectation from your supervisor that you respond to an email or phone call, or conduct work outside of your normal working hours, you should claim that as overtime.

Can I claim travel time outside my regular hours of work as overtime?

If you are required to travel for work, you can claim the time spent travelling to the destination as overtime if it is outside your regular hours of work.

Time spent in a hotel room after you have travelled to your destination is not included, unless you can prove that you were working at the time. Time spent travelling from your hotel room to your meeting or conference is also not included.

Time travelled to and from your home to your regular workplace is not included.

Can I claim overtime under the AMAPCEO Collective Agreement if I am temporarily assigned to a non-bargaining unit position?

No.

If you are temporarily assigned to a non-AMAPCEO position, your hours of work and overtime are set by the terms and conditions of the non-bargaining unit position. This means that the AMAPCEO overtime and hours of work provisions do not apply. See Article 11.3 of your Collective Agreement.


If you have questions or need assistance

Please contact an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative in your District. They do not have to be in your Ministry.

Workplace Representatives are trained union members who have volunteered to confidentially assist members like you in the workplace. They should be your first point of contact in seeking information and representation with an issue at work.

Your Workplace Representative may ask you to use the union’s secure web-based system, RADAR, to provide details about your situation. RADAR will help you and your Workplace Representative keep track of things without the privacy concerns that could come from using the Employer’s email system.

Fact Sheet

Bargaining Unit: Ontario Public Service (OPS)

Collective Agreement Article: 46

First Published: August 12, 2020

Last Updated: March 4, 2021

Contact a Workplace Representative

See more Ontario Public Service Fact Sheets