Hours of Work, Rest Periods and Days of Rest

“Hours of work” is the period of time during which an employee works for an employer. It includes time off with pay instead of overtime pay provided by an employer and taken by an employee. An employee may work a maximum of 12 hours in a day unless an unforeseeable or unpreventable emergency occurs, or the Director of Employment Standards issues a permit authorizing extended hours of work beyond 12 hours.

An employee is entitled to at least 30 minutes of rest (break) in each shift longer than five consecutive hours of work. Likewise, employees are entitled to certain minimum days of rest as follows:

  • one day of rest each work week, or
  • two consecutive days of rest in each period of two consecutive work weeks, or
  • three consecutive days of rest in each period of three consecutive work weeks, or
  • four consecutive days of rest in each period of four consecutive work weeks, or
  • at least four consecutive days of rest after 24 consecutive work days.

To learn more, see the Hours of Work, Rest Periods and Days of Rest Fact Sheet.

Created: 2004-07-19
Modified: 2011-03-21
PID: 1031

Contact Employment Standards

Call the Employment Standards Contact Centre for general information or submit an inquiry online:

  • 780‑427‑3731 (Edmonton area)
  • 1‑877‑427‑3731 (Toll-free)

NOTE - The Contact Centre will be closed December 24-31, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

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