The Limits to Averaging Agreements

The Employment Standards Act (British Columbia) allows some flexibility in hours of work without overtime pay through the use of averaging agreements.

Unfortunately, the requirements for an enforceable averaging agreement are often impractical. An averaging agreement must:

  • be agreed, in writing, with each employee;
  • specify the start and end dates;
  • be signed by both parties;
  • specify the hours for each day;
  • specify the length, which must be one, two, three or four weeks unless varied by the Director of Employment Standards;
  • specify the number of times the agreement may be repeated;
  • not average more than 40 hours per week;
  • use “weeks” which run Sunday through Saturday; and
  • not require hours of work which average more than 40 hours per week over the period of the agreement.

Averaging agreements are not filed with the Employment Standards Branch, but they must be kept for two years after the employment of the employee terminates.

An employee is still entitled to overtime pay while working under an averaging agreement for:

  • all hours worked outside of the schedule which exceed eight hours in a day (at time-and-a-half);
  • all hours worked in excess of 12 hours a day (at double time);
  • all hours worked in excess of an average of 40 hours per week over the period covered by the agreement (at time-and-a-half); and
  • any hours of work during the 32 hour rest period (at time-and-a-half). However, the 32 hour rest period need not be scheduled during each week, but can be scheduled consecutively at any point during the schedule.

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