Labour Standards Code - Government of Nova Scotia

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Guide to the Nova Scotia

Labour Standards Code

Purpose of this Guide The purpose of this Guide is to help people understand how Nova Scotia Labour Standards legislation applies to employment relationships, and the role of the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Division in enforcing the legislation. The Guide provides information on a number of Labour Standards topics, as follows:                

Introduction to Labour Standards Protecting Pay Minimum Wage Deductions from Pay Vacation Time and Vacation Pay Overtime Pay Holiday Pay Retail Closing Days and the Right to Refuse to Work When the Employer Ends the Employment When the Employee Ends the Employment Leaves from Work Hours of Labour (Period of Rest, Breaks) Employment of Children Foreign Worker Recruitment and Employment Records Labour Standards Complaint Process

Important Note: This Guide deals only with Nova Scotia Labour Standards legislation. There are other laws that might apply to employment relationships such as Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation and Human Rights legislation. Also, people might have recourse through the courts to deal with workplace issues. For example, an employee might file a court claim against his employer seeking damages for wrongful dismissal. Or, an employer might file a court claim against her employee to recover a debt the employee owes the employer.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Introduction to Labour Standards Labour Standards Division The Labour Standards Division administers the provincial Labour Standards legislation by: providing awareness sessions and presentations to employers, employees and recruiters; investigating and resolving Labour Standards complaints; auditing pay records and recruitment records; and answering inquiries from the public by phone, email and in person.

What the Legislation Does The Labour Standards legislation sets out the minimum employment rules in Nova Scotia that employers and employees have to follow. It also sets out rules specific to the recruitment of workers and the hiring of foreign workers. These rules include minimum standards for wages, deductions from pay, vacation pay, overtime pay, holidays with pay, leaves, ending employment, and other things. It is not legal for employers and employees to agree to terms, conditions, and benefits that offer less than the legislation offers. However, employers can give their employees greater benefits than those set out in the legislation. Employees, employers and recruiters have rights and responsibilities under these rules. A person who feels he/she has not received a benefit under the legislation can contact Labour Standards about filing a Labour Standards complaint (see also information sheet on Labour Standards Complaint Process). Generally, Labour Standards legislation applies to:   

employers whose business is regulated by the provincial government employees who work for an employer regardless of the number of hours of work, e.g. permanent, full time, part time, casual, seasonal recruiters who assist individuals, including foreign workers, in finding work in Nova Scotia and the individuals they assist

However, not all employees are covered by all areas of the legislation. The rules can be complicated. If you have any questions contact the Labour Standards Division. The legislation does not apply to:   

employers whose business is regulated by the federal government people who are self-employed or are considered to be an independent contractor unionized employees who have access to a grievance process to get what they are entitled to under their collective agreement

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Discrimination under the Labour Standards Code It is against the law to fire, layoff, or discriminate in any way against an employee:        

who has made a complaint, or assisted another employee in making a complaint, under the Labour Standards Code who is about to make an inquiry about their rights or another employee’s rights under the Labour Standards Code who has initiated an inquiry, investigation or proceeding, or has assisted another employee in initiating an inquiry, investigation or proceeding under the Labour Standards Code who has testified or is going to testify (or if the employer believes that person is going to testify) in any investigation or hearing that takes place under the Labour Standards Code who has disclosed or is about to disclose information that is required under the Labour Standards Code who has taken or said that he/she intends to take (or if the employer believes he/she will take) a leave of absence that an employee may take under the Labour Standards Code who has exercised his/her right to refuse to work on Sundays or Retail Closing Days whose wages are being garnished

Six Months Limitation Period Complaints must be filed with the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Division within six months of a violation of the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code taking place in order for the Division to have the authority to address the complaint. For example, an employee begins a job on January 1, 2014 and regularly works overtime hours without receiving overtime pay. Ten months later, on November 1, 2014, the employee files a complaint with Labour Standards claiming overtime pay dating back to her first week of employment. Labour Standards cannot order the employer to pay overtime pay owed since January 2014. Labour Standards can only order the employer to pay overtime pay owed between May 1, 2014 and November 1, 2014, which is the 6 month period immediately preceding the date she filed her complaint.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Protecting Pay The Labour Standards Code says that employees must be paid for their work. In most cases they must earn a minimum hourly rate as set by the minimum wage orders. There are also strict rules about the types of deductions employers can make from employees’ pay (see also information sheets on Minimum Wage and Deductions from Pay).

Types of Pay Pay includes wages (e.g., hourly, salary, commissions, piecework), holiday pay, overtime pay and vacation pay. Pay does not include tips and gratuities. Tips and gratuities are not protected by the Labour Standards Code.

Frequency of Pay The Labour Standards Code says that:   

employees must be paid at least two times each month employees must be paid within five working days after the end of the pay period if an employee is not at work when he/she would normally be paid, or is not paid for any other reason, then that employee must be paid when he/she asks for it at any time during regular working hours

Forms of Payment Employers must pay employees by cheque, cash, money order, email transfer or direct deposit.

Equal Pay for Equal Work Employers cannot pay employees less or more just because they are male or female. Men and women must receive the same rate of pay for doing work that is the same or very much the same. Employers may pay different rates between men and women doing work that is very much the same when one of the following is in place: 

a seniority system that pays more experienced employees a higher rate of pay than less experienced employees

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

  

a merit pay system that pays employees more based on a system that objectively measures employees’ performance a system that pays employees more based on the quality and/or quantity of the work they produce a factor other than sex that makes a difference between employees doing the same work

For example, an employer can hire a male and female employee to do the same job and offer them a different rate of pay based on their level of education and previous work experience. Another example, a male and female employee doing the same job could be paid a different rate of pay because one of them works the night shift and the other does not. If employees have not been paid equal pay for equal work, employers must raise wages, not lower them, to achieve equal pay. The equal pay rules in the Labour Standards Code are different from pay equity or equal pay for work of equal value. For questions about pay equity, contact the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Minimum Wage There are three minimum wage orders:   

Minimum Wage Order (General) Minimum Wage Order (Construction and Property Maintenance) Minimum Wage Order (Logging and Forestry)

This information sheet deals primarily with the Minimum Wage Order (General). For information on the other two orders, contact Labour Standards.

What the Minimum Wage Order Does First, the Minimum Wage Order (General) sets the minimum wage rate, which is the least amount of money an employer must pay an employee for each hour of work. In Nova Scotia there are two wage rates, one for experienced employees and one for inexperienced employees. An experienced employee has done a kind of work for at least three calendar months or worked for the same employer for at least three calendar months. An inexperienced employee has done a kind of work for less than three calendar months and has worked for the same employer for less than three calendar months. Second, the Minimum Wage Order (General) sets employment standards for the following:       

overtime, for some groups partial hours being called into work at times other than scheduled working hours employees waiting for work on the work premises piecework deductions for board, lodging, and meals deductions for uniforms

The New Minimum Wage Rate Employers must pay experienced employees at least $10.85 per hour. They must pay inexperienced employees at least $10.35 for each hour of work. The minimum wage rate applies to a work week of 48 hours or less. Any increases in minimum wage will occur on April 1st and the public will be notified of the increase in advance in January.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Overtime The Minimum Wage Order (General) contains overtime requirements for some groups. Overtime is also addressed in the Labour Standards Code and in the construction and property maintenance Minimum Wage Order (see also information sheet on Overtime).

Partial Hours An employer who pays minimum wage and who pays employees by the hour must round up parts of hours worked 15 minutes and over. If an employee works for between 15 and 30 minutes, the employer must pay for one half-hour (or for 30 minutes). If the employee works for between 31 and 60 minutes, the employer must pay the employee for one full hour (or for 60 minutes). Here are some examples:  

an employee who works for 7 hours and 20 minutes must be paid for at least 7 ½ hours an employee who works for 7 hours and 40 minutes must be paid for at least 8 hours

Even if the employee is paid more than minimum wage, the amount paid for partial hours cannot be less than the amount that would have been paid for the day at minimum wage. For example, if an employee works for 2.25 hours at $10.90, the employee’s wage would be $24.53. If the employee worked at minimum wage (currently $10.85/hour), they would earn $27.13 (2.5 x $10.85) because the employer would have to round up the employee’s time to 2.5 hours. The employee is, therefore, owed an additional $2.60 for this day ($27.13 - $24.53).

Call In If an employee is called in to work outside the employee’s regular work hours, the employer must pay the employee for at least three hours of work at the minimum wage rate, that is, at least $32.55 ($10.85 x 3 hours). This is true even if the employee works only one or two hours. For example, if the employee makes $12 per hour and the employee is called in for one hour’s work, the employer must pay the employee at least $32.55.

Waiting for Work Employees must be paid at least minimum wage for all time spent at the workplace, at the request of the employer, waiting to perform work. For example an employee who works at a restaurant is told by the supervisor to be at work by 8:00 am. The employee arrives at work at 8:00 am but does not actually start performing work until 9:00 am when the restaurant starts to get busy. The employee works serving tables from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and then leaves for the day. In this situation, the employee would be entitled to pay at the minimum wage rate for the

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

time he/she spent waiting for work from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. He/she would be entitled to his/her regular rate of pay for those hours worked between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Piecework Many employers in Nova Scotia pay employees by the amount they produce and not by the hour. This arrangement is called “piecework.” The Minimum Wage Order (General) says that an employer cannot pay an employee less for piecework than that employee would have earned at the minimum wage for the number of hours worked. For example, an employee is paid $7 for each hat the employee sews. During a one-week period the employee produces 40 hats. The employee is entitled to be paid: $7 per hat x 40 hats, or $280.00. To produce the 40 hats, the employee worked 30 hours. At the minimum wage the employee would have earned $325.50 ($10.85 x 30 hours of work). The employee is entitled to be paid at least the same as if the employee was being paid the minimum wage for each hour worked. The employee is, therefore, owed an additional $45.50 ($325.50 - $280.00). Note this rule does not apply to employees employed on a farm whose work is directly related to harvesting fruit, vegetables and tobacco.

Board and Lodging The Minimum Wage Order (General) tells employers how much they can take from an employee’s minimum wage for board and lodging that the employer provides. These amounts are as follows: For board and lodging for each week: $68.20 For board only for each week: $55.55 For lodging only for each week: $15.45 For a single meal: $3.65 An employer cannot charge an employee for a meal not received.

Deductions for Uniforms If an employer requires employees to wear uniforms, aprons, or smocks, the employer may not take the cost of the uniform from the employees’ wages if doing so will take their hourly rate below the minimum wage. For example, if an employee works 30 hours each week earning $10.95 per hour then the employee earns $328.50 ($10.95 x 30) each week. If the employer takes $25 off the weekly pay for a uniform, then the employee will have earned $303.50 that Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

week, or $10.12 per hour (303.50 ÷ 30). Since $10.12 per hour is below the minimum wage, the employer cannot take that much from the employee’s wages for the cost of the uniform. The employer may take from the employee’s wages the cost of dry cleaning a uniform that is made of wool or a heavy material. The employer may do this even if the employee’s wages then fall below minimum wage.

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The minimum wage rules do not apply to the following employees:            

certain farm employees apprentices employed under the terms of an apprenticeship agreement under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act anyone receiving training under government sponsored and government approved plans anyone employed at a non-profit playground or summer camp real estate and car salespeople commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer’s premises, but not those on established routes insurance agents licensed under the Insurance Act employees who work on a fishing boat employees who fall under the minimum wage orders concerning Logging and Forest Operations and Construction and Property Maintenance employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Deductions from Pay Employers make deductions from pay for various reasons. Often these deductions are lawful, but sometimes they are not.

Lawful Deductions Lawful deductions include:       

statutory deductions (income tax, CPP, EI) court ordered deductions (for example, garnishment) those that provide a benefit to employees (for example, health plans) charges for board and lodging as authorized by the Minimum Wage Orders recovery of pay advances, overpayments deductions for employee purchases from the employer’s business on account, if there is a clear agreement between the employee and the employer that these can be deducted deductions for dry cleaning of woolen or other heavy material uniforms

These deductions can be made even if they bring the employee’s wages below the minimum wage.

Other Deductions Some employers make deductions from employees’ pay for losses, shortages, damage, etc. Also, some employers make deductions for employee debts that are not for purchases on account. These deductions:  

must not take the employee’s gross wages below minimum wage must be authorized by a clear agreement between the employer and the employee (deductions are authorized by the employee when there is a written agreement or when the employee has acted in a way that shows he/she accepts the deduction - we recommend that employers use written authorizations for all such deductions)

If the deduction is for losses incurred while the employee is working, it must be supported by a written authorization by the employee. The authorization should be made in advance, ideally when the employee is hired. Authorizations made after the loss occurs will be open to challenge. The authorization should specify the kind and amount of deductions that will be made. It should be dated and signed by the employee. If the deduction is for losses caused by customers leaving the employer’s business without paying for goods or services, the employer must be able to show that the loss is the fault of the employee.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Recovery of Recruitment Costs Individuals who recruit workers for employment in Nova Scotia cannot charge the workers, including foreign workers, a fee for recruitment related services. Employers cannot make deductions, directly or indirectly, from employees’ pay to cover the costs of recruiting.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Vacation Time and Vacation Pay The Labour Standards Code says that employers must give employees both vacation time and vacation pay.

Vacation Time Earning Vacation Time Employers must give employees vacation time of two weeks after each period of 12 months of work. This increases to three weeks once an employee has completed 8 years of service with the employer. An employee earns his/her vacation time during the first 12 months of work and every 12 months after that. The employer must give the employee her vacation time within the 10 months following the 12 month earning period. Taking Vacation Time Employers decide when employees will take their vacation time. Employers must tell employees when their vacation will begin at least one week before it begins. Many employers let their employees choose when to take vacation time; however, the employer has the final say. Employees who work full time must take vacation time. Employees who work less than 90 per cent of the regular working hours during the 12 months when they earned vacation can give up vacation time and just collect their vacation pay (see below for information on vacation pay). When an employee tells an employer in writing that he/she will give up vacation time, the employer must pay the employee his/her vacation pay no later than one month after the date the 12 month earning period ends. Vacation Time May Be Broken If the employer and employee agree, the vacation time may be broken into two or more vacation periods, as long as the employee receives her full two weeks’ vacation, or three weeks after 8 years, and the employee receives at least one unbroken week of vacation.

Vacation Pay Earning Vacation Pay Vacation pay is different than wages. Employers must pay employees, whether full time, parttime, seasonal, etc., vacation pay of at least 4 percent of gross wages. This increases to 6 percent of gross wages once the employee has completed 8 years of service with the employer. An employee earns vacation pay during the first 12 months of work for an employer and every 12 months after that. Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Paying Vacation Pay An employer can pay vacation by: 

 

accumulating the vacation pay over the 12 month earning period and paying it out to employees at least one day before they take their vacation time - note an employee can request accumulated vacation pay earlier but the employer does not have to provide it until one day before the employee’s vacation adding the vacation pay to each cheque, or including the vacation pay in with the employee’s hourly rate, which would be paid in every pay cheque (in this case, the employer must ensure the employee’s rate of pay is at least minimum wage plus 4 percent, or 6 percent for employees after 8 years)

The employer must make it clear to each employee how they are being paid their vacation pay. The employer can do this, for example, by showing accumulated vacation pay on every pay stub, showing on the paystub that vacation pay is paid out with each pay, by having employees sign a clear statement acknowledging they are aware that vacation pay is included in their hourly rate of pay, or by stating on each paystub that vacation pay is included in the hourly rate of pay. Employees do not earn wages when they take their vacation time. Vacation pay is intended to be the employee’s pay during his/her vacation time, even if the employee receives vacation pay on each pay. If an employee’s job ends and the employee has accumulated vacation pay, the employer must pay the accumulated vacation pay within 10 business days after the employment ends. If there is a dispute and the employer cannot show vacation pay was paid, the employer will normally have to pay the vacation pay (see also information sheet on Records).

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The rules on vacation time and vacation pay do not apply to the following employees:       

real estate and car salespeople commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer’s place of business, but not anyone with an established route a salesperson who sells mobile homes employees who work on a fishing boat employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Overtime Pay The general rule for overtime is that employees are entitled to receive 1½ times their regular wage for each hour worked after 48 in a week. A week is defined as a consistent seven day period, e.g., Monday to Sunday, Wednesday to Tuesday. For example, if an employee makes $14.00 per hour, that employee would make $21.00 per hour for every hour worked over 48 hours. These rules also apply to some salaried employees. Certain industries are characterized by irregular working hours and conditions and do not follow the general rule. Some have special rules about overtime and some others are not covered by overtime.

Special Rules Some groups of employees have special rules to deal with overtime, called wage orders. The jobs covered by these wage orders are listed below. Minimum Wage Order (General) The following groups of employees receive overtime at 1½ times the minimum wage after 48 hours worked in a week:        

oil and gas employees (but not those in retail) managers, supervisors, and employees employed in a confidential capacity. This includes managers and supervisors in the construction industry transport (this group can average over 96 hours in two weeks) primary fish, aquaculture and agricultural processors (but not meat) flat-rate auto mechanics/auto body technicians some types of professionals and their trainees information technology (IT) professionals (but not employees who provide basic operational/technical support) shipbuilders and related employees (but not those in retail)

Minimum Wage Order (Construction and Property Maintenance) The following groups of employees receive 1½ times their regular wage after 110 hours worked over a two week period:   

those constructing, restoring or maintaining roads, streets, sidewalks, structures or bridges (except municipal) those doing paving of all sorts water and sewer installers

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

  

landscapers and snow removal employees saw mill employees metal fabricators and machine shop employees

For example, these employees could work 60 hours one week and 50 hours the following week without earning overtime because the combined hours do not exceed 110.

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The overtime rules do not apply to the following employees:              

most farm employees apprentices employed under the terms of an apprenticeship agreement under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act anyone receiving training under government sponsored and government approved plans anyone employed at a non-profit playground or summer camp real estate and car salespeople commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer’s premises, but not those on established routes insurance agents licensed under the Insurance Act employees working on a fishing boat employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week employees in the logging and forest industry live-in health care and live-in personal care providers janitors and building superintendents in buildings that include their residence athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Fixed Cycle Averaging Agreements An employer and employee may agree to average the employee’s hours of work over a number of weeks - where there is a pre-determined, fixed cycle of work that repeats over a specific period of time and provides for extended time off. This means the employer would not need to pay overtime based on the number of hours the employee works in one week. Instead overtime would be based on the total number of hours the employee worked in the cycle. There are conditions that must be met for employers and employees to do this. Please see our website or contact Labour Standards for information on this.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Holiday Pay The Labour Standards Code gives employees who qualify six holidays with pay: New Year’s Day, Nova Scotia Heritage Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day, and Christmas Day. Note: A separate law covers Remembrance Day; it is explained at the end of this information sheet.

Qualifying for Paid Holidays To have a day off with pay for these holidays, an employee must: 1. be entitled to receive pay for at least 15 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday and 2. have worked on his/her last scheduled shift or day before the holiday and on the first scheduled shift or day after the holiday First, during the 30 calendar days right before the holiday, the employee must be entitled to receive pay for 15 of those days. This does not mean that the employee must have worked 15 out of 30 days. The important words to remember are “entitled to receive pay.” For example, if an employee is sick and the employer has a paid sick time policy, or if the employee is attending a course and is being paid wages for attending, the employee may still qualify for the paid holiday. Second, the employee must have worked on his/her last scheduled shift or day before the holiday and on the first scheduled shift or day after the holiday. The important word to remember is “scheduled.” Many people believe this means that if the employee does not work the day after the holiday then the employee does not qualify to receive holiday pay. If the day is one when the employee is not scheduled to work, then he/she may still qualify for the paid holiday. Note: If an employer tells an employee not to report for work on his/her last scheduled work day immediately before the holiday, or the next scheduled work day after the holiday, then the employee is still entitled to receive holiday pay if he/she meets the first qualification.

Paying an Employee for a Holiday If an employee qualifies for the holiday and is given the day off, the employer must pay a regular day’s pay for that holiday. If the employee’s hours of work change from day to day, or if wages change from pay to pay, the employer should average hours or wages over 30 days to calculate what to pay the employee for the holiday. For example, if an employee worked 20 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday for a total of 170 hours, the calculations would be as follows: 170 ÷ 20 = 8.5 average hours worked per shift. Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

If the holiday falls on an employee’s regular day off, the employee is entitled to another day off with pay.

Calculating Holiday Pay When the Employee Works on a Holiday An employee who works on a holiday and who qualifies to be paid holiday pay is entitled to receive both of the following:  

the amount the employee would have normally received for that day and one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of wages for the number of hours worked on that holiday

When the Employee Works in a Continuous Operation Employees who work in a continuous operation can be paid for holidays in a different way. A continuous operation is:    

any industrial establishment in which production continues without stopping any service that runs trucks and other vehicles any telephone or other communications service any service or production in which employees normally work on Sundays or public holidays

In a continuous operation, the employer can pay for holidays worked in one of two ways:  

according to the calculation already described or by paying straight time for the hours worked and giving the employee another day off with pay

Note: An employee in a continuous operation will not be entitled to holiday pay if he/she does not report for work on the holiday after being called upon to work that day.

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The holiday pay rules do not apply to the following employees:   

employees who work under a collective agreement most farm employees real estate and car salespeople

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

     

commissioned salespeople who make sales at locations other than at the employer’s premises, except those on an established route employees who work on a fishing boat employees who work in the manufacturing or refining processes of the petrochemical industry employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Remembrance Day An employee who works on Remembrance Day and who is entitled to receive wages for at least 15 of the 30 calendar days immediately before Remembrance Day may be entitled to receive another day off with pay. That day with pay may be taken at the end of the employee’s vacation or any other day the employee and employer may agree upon.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Retail Closing Days and the Right to Refuse to Work Retail Closing Days Some retail businesses are not allowed to open on certain days of the year. These days are: New Year’s Day

Labour Day

Nova Scotia Heritage Day

Thanksgiving Day

Good Friday

Christmas Day

Easter Sunday

Boxing Day

Canada Day

The Right to Refuse to Work The Labour Standards Code gives employees of these retail businesses the right to refuse to work on the closing days listed above. For example, if a retail business were to schedule an employee to stock shelves whiles the business was closed on New Year’s Day, the employee could refuse to work on that day. The Labour Standards Code also gives employees of these same retail businesses the right to refuse to work on Sundays. Employees who have agreed to work on Sundays or closing days must give their employer seven days’ notice of their intent not to work on Sundays or closing days in general or on a particular Sunday or closing day. If an employer provides an employee with less than seven days’ notice that the employee is scheduled to work on a Sunday or closing day, the employee must notify the employer of his/her intent not to work that day, within two days of being informed of the schedule. Employees who have the right to refuse to work are protected against retaliation and can be reinstated to their job with back pay if they are fired because they refused to work on Sundays or closing days.

Exceptions Retail businesses that are not required to close and whose employees do not have the right to refuse to work on closing days and Sundays include:

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]



                              

grocery stores that at no time operate in an area greater than 4000 square feet (note if two or more stores selling groceries are owned by related persons and are in the same building or are adjacent or in close proximity to one another, they are considered to be one store for the purposes of determining whether the store must close and whether employees have the right to refuse to work) drug stores if they do not have more than 2000 square feet dedicated to food items, are not larger than 20,000 square feet in total, and are not in a department store farm sales of agricultural products Christmas tree sales retail gas stations (motor vehicle service stations) restaurants, bars, taverns etc., and tourism/hotel services confectionary stores stores selling handicrafts and souvenirs to tourists canteens fruit and vegetable stands selling local produce flea markets and rummage sales retail fish stores laundromats billiard and pool halls video or DVD rental places modular (prefabricated) home sales nursery and plant stores art galleries antique stores the sale of books, newspapers, magazines used clothing stores private clubs, veterans and other clubs, but not clubs set up for the purpose of retail sales public games for gain and reward public performances, cinemas excursions car rental and boat rental operations buses, trains and other modes of transportation ferry operations telephone and telegraph operations broadcasting newspaper publication retail businesses providing goods and services on an emergency basis

Note: The right to refuse to work on closing days and on Sundays does not apply to employees who work under a collective agreement.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Making a Complaint If an employee feels he/she is not going to be given the right to refuse to work under these rules, contact the Labour Standards Division right away. Labour Standards will try to resolve the matter.

Remembrance Day Closing Rules Remembrance Day has different closing rules. Generally, retail businesses are required to close on Remembrance Day, with the following exceptions       

drug stores, except those in department stores service stations the hospitality industry stores with no more than three persons at any one time operating them the operation of a bakery for the baking of products for sale on the next day broadcasting other retail businesses can remain open until 6am on Remembrance Day to finish a regular shift that started the previous day or to begin, after 9:00pm on Remembrance Day, a regular shift that continues into the following day

The Labour Standards Code does not give employees the right to refuse to work on Remembrance Day.

Note: To report a retail business that is operating on a day it is supposed to be closed, contact your local police agency.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

When the Employer Ends the Employment Under the Labour Standards Code, employers must tell an employee in writing that they will fire or suspend or lay off that employee. This is called giving notice. “Notice” is the letter telling the employee that he/she will no longer work for the employer after a given date. It is also the time between when the employee receives the letter and the date the letter says is the employee’s last day of work. How much notice an employer must give an employee depends upon how long the employee was employed. The following table shows the notice times for each period of employment.

Written Notice Requirements If the employee has a period of employment of

The employer must give

3 months or more but less than 2 years

1 week

2 years or more but less than 5 years

2 weeks

5 years or more but less than 10 years

4 weeks

10 years or more

8 weeks*

*The rules are different for employees of ten years or more (see section on Employees with 10 Years of Service). If the employer does not want to give the employee notice, the employer must give the employee pay in lieu of (in place of) notice. This means that the employer must pay the employee as much pay as he/she would receive if he/she worked during the notice period.

Periods of Employment/Length of Service An employee’s period of employment (how long he/she worked for the employer) may be broken because he/she is laid off, suspended, or fired. The Labour Standards Code states that an employee's period of employment is considered unbroken unless it is broken:  

by 12 months or more of lay off or suspension by more than 13 weeks that resulted from the employee resigning or the employer firing the employee

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

When the Employer Gives Notice When an employer has given the employee proper notice that the job is ending, the employer:    

may not change the employee’s rate of pay or any other condition of employment, such as benefits may not require the employee to use remaining vacation during the notice period unless the employee agrees must pay the employee all the wages that he/she is entitled to receive at the end of the notice period must pay accumulated vacation pay within 10 days after the employment ends

Change in Terms and Conditions of Employment If the employer makes a significant change to fundamental terms and conditions of an employee’s employment (e.g., reduces pay, hours of work, demotes the employee) and the employee doesn’t agree to the change, the situation might fall under the termination rules in the legislation. For example, if an employer reduces an employee’s weekly hours from 40 to 20 without proper notice, and the employee quits within a reasonable period of time because of the change, the employee might be able to file a Labour Standards complaint for pay in lieu of notice.

The Right to End Employment Without Notice The Labour Standards Code says that there are times when an employer does not have to give notice or pay in lieu of notice that the employee will be fired or laid off. Some examples are listed below:      

when an employee works for the employer for less than three months when an employee works for the employer for a set term or task no longer than 12 months and the employee’s job ends when the set term or task ends when there is a sudden and unexpected lack of work that the employer could not avoid, e.g., because of an explosion in the workplace when the employer offers the employee other reasonable employment when an employee has reached the age of retirement based on a bona fide occupational requirement (for most jobs, mandatory retirement is not allowed) when a person is laid off or suspended for 6 days or less - note employees with 10 or more years of service cannot be suspended without just cause

An employer can also end employment without notice or pay in lieu of notice when an employee has been guilty of wilful misconduct or disobedience or neglect of duty that has not been condoned by the employer. In order to end an employee’s job without notice, the Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

employer must usually show that the employee has been given progressive discipline but has not improved his/her behaviour. Condonation Condonation means that the employer has not corrected a behaviour in the past. Condonation is an issue if, for example, an employer ignores an employee’s poor performance at work and then one day fires the employee for the same poor behaviour. If an employer condones an employee’s behaviour and then fires him/her without notice, the employer may be in violation of the Labour Standards Code. An employee has to be told that the employer will no longer allow the poor performance. The employee must understand what will happen if his/her performance does not improve. Progressive Discipline Depending on the problem an employer is having with an employee, it may be better to correct the problem by using progressive discipline rather than by ending the employee’s job. Progressive discipline can begin with spoken warnings, move to written warnings and suspensions, and then end with firing the employee. For example, an employee who is a good worker but does not follow work procedures properly may just need spoken and written warnings to correct the problem. The discipline should match the seriousness of the problem. There are times when the steps above would not need to be followed because of the seriousness of the employee’s behaviour. For example, if the employer can prove that the employee has stolen from the employer, then the employer may be able to fire the employee without warning or notice.

Employees with 10 Years of Service The Labour Standards Code says that an employee with 10 years or more of service cannot be fired or suspended without good reason or just cause. What is good reason will depend on the employee’s and employer’s circumstances. To show that the employer had good reason, he/she may have to show all of the following: 1. 2. 3. 4.

the employer has made their expectations clear to the employee the employer has warned the employee to change behaviour the employer has given the employee a reasonable chance to change his/her behaviour the employer has warned the employee that not improving behaviour could lead to being fired

There may be limited circumstances, like a theft, in which an employer may fire an employee with 10 years of service and not have to follow the four steps. Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

When Labour Standards finds that an employee with 10 years or more of service has been fired without good reason, the employer may be ordered to bring the employee back to the job with full back pay dating to the date the employee was fired. If the employee does not wish to go back to the job, Labour Standards may order pay in lieu of reasonable notice, which could be more than the 8 weeks’ statutory notice required for an employee with 10 or more years of service. Note: An employee of ten years or more can be laid off with 8 weeks’ notice for shortage of work or due to an elimination of a position.

Exceptions to the Requirement to have Just Cause or to Give Notice The Labour Standards Code says there are times when an employer can end the employment of an employee with 10 years or more of service without just cause and without notice or pay in lieu of notice. This includes:   

when there is a sudden and unexpected lack of work that the employer could not avoid, e.g., because of an explosion in the workplace when the employer offers the employee other reasonable employment when an employee has reached the age of retirement based on a bona fide occupational requirement (for most jobs, mandatory retirement is not allowed)

Ending the Employment of 10 or More Employees (Group Notice) The Labour Standards Code says that an employer must give notice to employees and the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education when firing or laying off 10 or more employees within any period of 4 weeks or less. The amount of notice groups of employees are entitled to receive depends on the numbers being laid off:   

8 weeks’ notice for a group of 10 to 99 employees 12 weeks’ notice for a group of 100 to 299 employees 16 weeks’ notice for a group of 300 or more employees

Notice to the Minister When an employer is required to give group notice under the Labour Standards Code, the employer must also notify the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, in writing, of the situation. Written notice to the Minister should include the following information:   

the name and address of the company laying off employees the reason employees are being laid off the number of employees being laid off

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

    

if more than one location of the business is affected, the number of employees being laid off at each location and the address of each location the date written notice is being given to employees the date employees’ employment is ending the number of weeks’ notice and/or pay in lieu of notice being given to employees contact information for an individual who the Department of Labour and Advanced Education can get in touch with if more information about the lay off is needed

When a Business Is Transferred or Sold It is important to know that the Labour Standards Code says that an employee’s employment is not broken if a business is transferred or sold in any manner. If an employee worked for both the seller and purchaser of a business, when the employee’s employment comes to end, he/she may be entitled to notice that the job is ending or pay in lieu of notice based on how long the employee worked with both the past owner and the person who bought the business.

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The rules about the employer ending the employment do not apply to the following employees:      

  

employees employed in the construction industry real estate and car sales people commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer’s place of business, but not those on an established route employees who work on a fishing boat employees in a union with a collective agreement in force practitioners or students in training for architecture, dentistry, law, medicine, chiropody, professional engineering, public or chartered accounting, psychology, surveying, veterinary science, optometry, or pharmacy (for the purposes of reinstatement claims for 10-year employees only) employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

When the Employee Ends the Employment Employees normally must give their employers written notice that they are quitting their jobs. “Notice” in this case is the amount of time between when the employee tells the employer in writing that he/she is leaving his/her job and the time that he/she actually leaves. How much written notice an employee must give depends on how long he/she has worked for the same employer. An employee must give:  

one week’s written notice if he/she has a period of employment three months or more but less than two years two weeks’ written notice if he/she has a period of employment of two years or more

Duty of the Employer When Notice Is Given When an employee has given the employer proper notice that he/she is quitting, the employer:   

may not change the employee’s rate of pay or any other condition of employment, such as hours of work or benefits must pay the employee all the wages he/she is entitled to receive at the end of the notice period must pay accumulated vacation pay within 10 days after the employment ends

Periods of Employment An employee’s period of employment (how long he/she worked) at one workplace may have been broken because he/she was laid off, suspended, or fired. This is important to know if he/she is about to resign and has to decide whether to give his/her employer one or two weeks’ notice. The Labour Standards Code states that an employee's period of employment is considered unbroken unless it is broken:  

by 12 months or more of layoff or suspension by more than 13 weeks that resulted from the employee resigning or the employer firing the employee

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

When an Employee Does Not Need to Give Notice Just as an employer sometimes does not always have to give an employee notice that his/her employment is ending, there are also times when employees do not have to give notice. These are:  

when the employee has been employed less than three months when the employer breaks the terms and conditions of employment (for example, the employer fails to pay the employee wages or reduces the employee’s rate of pay or hours of work)

When an Employee Does Not Give Notice When an employee quits without notice, the employer may file a complaint with the Labour Standards Division and claim any pay owed to the employee. The maximum amount the employer may receive is the amount of pay the employee would earn in the notice period. For example, if an employee must give the employer one week’s written notice, but quits without notice, then the employer may make a claim on unpaid wages equal to one week's pay. To claim the employee's unpaid wages the employer must be able to show that he/she lost money or had extra costs because of the employee quitting without notice. As an example, an employer may be able to claim the cost of paying employees overtime to finish work the employee would have completed if he/she had not quit abruptly.

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The rules about employees giving notice of quitting their jobs do not apply for the following employees:        

employees employed in the construction industry real estate and automobile salespersons commissioned salespersons who work outside the employer's place of business, except those on established routes employees who work on a fishing boat employees in a union with a collective agreement in force employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Leaves from Work This information sheet is about the leaves of absence that the Labour Standards Code says employers must allow employees to take. The leaves of absence are pregnancy and parental, reservists, compassionate care, critically ill child care, crime-related death or disappearance, emergency, sick, bereavement, court, and citizenship ceremony. These are all unpaid leaves. During a leave of absence, an employee leaves the job intending to return. The intent is to provide job protection so employees can take time off from their job for the leave. Employees can qualify for multiple leaves under the Labour Standards Code. With certain leaves (pregnancy and parental, reservists’, compassionate care, critically ill child care, crime-related child death or disappearance, and emergency), the employer must:  

allow the employee to keep up, at the employee’s own expense, any benefit plans to which the employee belongs - note the employer must give 10 days’ written notice before the option to keep up employee benefits is no longer in effect accept the employee back to the same position held by the employee immediately before the leave began, or, where that position is not available, in a comparable position with no loss of seniority or benefits when the employee returns from the leave

Pregnancy and Parental Leaves Pregnancy leave is an unpaid leave for pregnant employees. It can last up to 17 weeks. The employee can start the leave up to 16 weeks before the expected date of delivery. She must also take at least one week after the date of delivery. Employees who have worked for an employer for at least one year may qualify for this leave. An employer can require that an employee take an unpaid leave of absence if her pregnancy interferes with her work. There are times when the Human Rights Act or the employee’s contract prevents this. The Labour Standards Code also allows parents to take parental leave to care for their newborn or newly adopted children. This unpaid leave is up to 52 weeks and is available to every parent that qualifies for it. To qualify for the leave an employee must have worked for the employer for at least one year and must become a parent to the child through birth or adoption. To Take Pregnancy or Parental Leave To take pregnancy or parental leave, an employee must give the employer at least four weeks’ notice of both the date on which leave will start and, if the employee plans to return early, the planned date of return to work. If the employee cannot give four weeks’ notice of leave because the baby is born early, because of a medical condition, or because of an unexpected adoption placement, then the employee must give as much notice as possible. An employer can ask for proof of entitlement for pregnancy or parental leave. This can include a certificate from a doctor or adoption worker.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

If an employee is taking both pregnancy and parental leaves, she must take them one right after the other and not go back to work between the two leaves. In this case, she can take up to 52 weeks’ total leave (17 pregnancy and 35 parental). If an employee is taking parental leave but not pregnancy leave, the employee can take up to 52 weeks’ leave in the time after the child is born or arrives in the home. The employee loses this right if the leave is not taken within 52 weeks after the child arrives in the home. If a newly arrived child must go into hospital for more than one week, the employee can return to work and use the rest of the parental leave after the child comes out of hospital. Employees who take pregnancy and/or parental leave may qualify for up to 15 weeks of maternity benefits and/or up to 35 weeks of parental leave benefits under the federal government’s Employment Insurance program. For more detail on these special benefits, please contact Service Canada.

Reservists Leave The Labour Standards Code has two types of leaves for Canadian Forces Reservists – a training leave available to all reservists and a deployment leave for reservists who accept a deployment for active service. To qualify for the leave, reservists must have been employed with their employer for one year. Training Leave for Reservists Reservists can take up to 20 days unpaid training leave per year in order to take ongoing annual reservist training. This means that the reservist does not have to use vacation leave for this training. The 20 days may be broken up into shorter periods and includes necessary travel time. An employee on training leave must return to work no later than the next regularly scheduled working day following the training and any related travel time. The employee must give at least 4 weeks’ notice to the employer that they plan to take a training leave, except in an emergency situation, when they must give as much notice as reasonably possible. Deployment Leave for Reservists Reservists who are on, or who are preparing for an active deployment, within Canada or overseas can take an unpaid leave from civilian work to fulfill their military commitment to service. Reservist employees can take deployment leave for a maximum period of service of 18 months within a 3 year period and must return to work within 4 weeks of the end of the service period. Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

The period of the leave includes the time for training that is necessary for the deployment. There must be at least one year between each deployment leave. An employee must give the employer 90 days’ notice of his/her intention to take the leave and 90 days’ notice of his/her intention to return to work from the leave. In an emergency situation, where the full 90 days cannot be provided, an employee needs to give as much notice as is reasonably practical. To Take Reservists Leave An employer can require an employee to provide a certificate from an official with the Reserves confirming that the employee requires the leave for a period of training or active service.

Compassionate Care Leave Compassionate care leave is an unpaid, 28-week leave for employees who need to care for a seriously ill family member who has a high risk of dying within 26 weeks. To take compassionate care leave, employees must be employed for at least three months with the same employer. Also, they must give their employer as much notice as possible before taking the leave. An employer can ask an employee to provide a medical certificate, from a medical doctor, stating that the employee’s family member is seriously ill. The employee can take up to 28 weeks’ leave, which must be taken over a 52 week time frame. The leave can be broken up into several periods of at least one week in duration during the 52 week time frame. The 52 week time frame begins on the first day of the week in which the leave began. Employees who take a compassionate care leave may qualify for a 26-week compassionate care leave benefit under the federal government’s Employment Insurance program. For more detail on this special benefit, please contact Service Canada.

Critically Ill Child Care Leave Critically ill child care leave is an unpaid leave that allows parents and guardians to take time off work to provide care and support to their critically ill or injured child (under the age of 18 years old). To qualify for this leave, the employee must have worked with the employer for at least three months. A qualified medical practitioner must issue a medical certificate stating that the child has a critical illness and the period of time for which the child needs care. The employee can take up to 37 weeks’ leave, which must be taken over a 52 week time frame. The leave can be broken up into several periods of at least one week in duration during the 52 week time frame. The 52 week time frame begins on the first day of the week in which the child became critically ill.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

The leave ends when the number of weeks in the period specified in a medical certificate has been taken (if the certificate sets out a period of less than 37 weeks), when 37 weeks of leave has been taken or when the employee ceases to provide care to the child. An employee can return to work earlier than intended by giving at least 14 days’ notice. Under some circumstances, an employee can extend their leave or take a new leave during the 52 week time frame. The employee may also be able to take consecutive critically ill child care leaves. Employees who take a critically ill child care leave may qualify for a 35 week special benefit under the federal government's Employment Insurance program. For more detail on this special benefit, please contact Service Canada. To Take Critically Ill Child Care Leave The employee must let the employer know in writing as soon as possible of their intention to take the leave. Where the leave must begin before written notice can be given, the employee must advise the employer of the leave as soon as possible. The employee must also give the employer a plan setting out how the leave will be taken, since the leave can be broken up into more than one period over the 52 week time frame. This leave plan can be changed during the leave with the employer’s agreement or by providing the employer with reasonable notice. The employer can ask in writing for a copy of the medical certificate.

Crime-related Child Death or Disappearance Leave Crime-related death or disappearance leave is an unpaid leave for parents and guardians who are facing the death or disappearance of their child (under 18 years of age) resulting from a probable crime. To qualify for the leave, the employee must have worked with the same employer for at least 3 months. The employee is not entitled to the leave if charged with the crime. An employee can to take up to 52 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave if their child has disappeared and up to 104 consecutive weeks if their child has died. Where a missing child is found alive during the 52 week leave period, the employee can continue the leave for another 14 days. If the child is found dead, the disappearance leave ends immediately and the employee can start 104 weeks of leave related to the death of the child. Where the death or disappearance no longer seems to be the result of a crime, the employee can continue the leave for another 14 days and the employee must give the employer notice in writing of their return to work as soon as possible. The employee can end the leave early by giving the employer 14 days’ written notice.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Employees who take a crime-related death or disappearance leave may qualify for 35 weeks of income support through a federal government grant. For more information on this grant please contact Service Canada. To Take Crime-related Child Death or Disappearance Leave The employee must let the employer know in writing as soon as possible of their intention to take the leave. Where the leave must begin before written notice can be given, the employee must advise the employer of the leave as soon as possible. The employee must also give the employer a written plan outlining the period that they will take the leave, which can be changed during the leave period with the employer’s agreement or by giving the employer 4 weeks’ written notice. The employer can ask for reasonable evidence of the death or disappearance of the child and evidence showing it was likely due to a crime.

Emergency Leave Employees are entitled to an unpaid leave if they are unable to work because:   

a government agency has declared an emergency, or a medical officer of health has issued a directive or order telling an employee to stay off work, or the employee needs to care for a family member who is affected by one of the emergency situations noted above

Sick Leave Employees are entitled to receive up to three days, unpaid sick leave each year. This leave may be used to care for an ill parent, child, or family member. It can also be used for medical, dental, or other similar appointments.

Bereavement Leave Employees can take unpaid leave of up to five working days in a row if their spouse, parent, guardian, child/child under their care, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, mother in-law, father in-law, daughter in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, or brother-in-law dies. Employees must give their employers as much notice as possible that they will take this leave.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Court Leave Employees can take unpaid leave if they must serve on a jury or the court says that they must appear as a witness. They must give their employer as much notice as possible that they will take court leave.

Citizenship Ceremony Leave Employees are entitled to take an unpaid leave of absence of up to one day, or less if the employee chooses, to attend their citizenship ceremony. If possible, employees must give their employer 14 days' notice that they plan to take the leave. If this is not possible, they must give as much notice as is reasonably possible. If the employer asks, the employee must provide evidence that they are attending their citizenship ceremony on a particular day, for example the “Notice to Appear” sent by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Discrimination against an Employee It is against the law to fire, lay off, or discriminate in any way against an employee who has taken or has said that they intend to take—or if the employer believes the employee may take— a leave of absence that the Labour Standards Code says the employee should be able to take. If a complaint is filed Labour Standards will investigate to determine if:   

the employer has good reason to fire or suspend the employee for past behavior and can show that the behaviour has not been allowed in the past there is lack of work that the employer could not foresee and avoid the business has stopped operating or the employee’s job is no longer needed and the employer is unable to provide other reasonable employment; the employer must show that they acted in good faith

If Labour Standards finds an employee has been discriminated against for having taken a leave or for intending to take a leave, the employer may be ordered to bring the employee back to the job with full back pay dating to the date the employee was fired. If the employee does not wish to go back to the job, Labour Standards may order a reasonable alternative remedy.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Hours of Labour (Period of Rest, Breaks) Period of Rest The Labour Standards Code states that under normal circumstances employers must grant employees a rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours in every 7 days. Emergency Situations An employer can require more than six days of work in a row if, for example, there has been an accident or if urgent work must be done to machinery or a plant. In these emergency circumstances, the employer can require only as much work as is needed to avoid serious interference with the ordinary operation of the workplace. It is important to note that the employer still has to follow break and overtime rules. Requesting an Exemption to the Rules In limited circumstances, employers may apply to the Director of Labour Standards for a temporary exemption from the period of rest rule. This is called a variance. For example, a call centre may take on a new contract and need to provide employees with training in relation to the contract within a short period of time. The employer could apply for a variance to temporarily have employees work more than 6 days without a rest during the training period. In determining whether to grant an exemption, Labour Standards considers a number of factors, such as:  if the employer’s request for an exemption is due to a special project or undertaking  if the exemption is temporary in nature  if the employer is proposing an alternative period of rest arrangement in which the number of rest days employees are entitled to following a work period are equal to at least 1 day off each 7 day period  if the majority of employees support the alternative period of rest arrangement requested by the employer  if the workplace is unionized, whether the union supports the employer’s request  health and safety considerations It is important to note that even if a variance is granted, the employer still has to follow break and overtime rules.

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The day of rest rules do not apply to the following employees: 

most farm employees

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

      

commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer’s place of business employees who work on a fishing boat practitioners or students in training for architecture, dentistry, law, medicine, chiropody, professional engineering, public or chartered accounting, psychology, surveying, or veterinary science employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder employees who do domestic service for or gives personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week employees employed in offshore oil and gas work while under the jurisdiction of the Canada – Nova Scotia offshore Petroleum Board athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Rest or Eating Breaks Employees are entitled to an unbroken half hour break so the employee is never working more than 5 consecutive hours without a break. For example, if an employee works a shift of 12 consecutive hours, he/she should receive a full half hour break plus an additional 30 minutes in breaks that can be taken as a whole or split into two or more periods totalling 30 minutes. Employers are generally not required to pay employees for breaks. However, if an employee is required to remain at the job site, under the control of the employer and to be available to work if necessary during the break, then this will likely be considered work. If so, the employee must be paid for this time. Where it is necessary for medical reasons, under the Labour Standards Code an employee is entitled to take rest or eating breaks at times other than those summarized above; also, an employee may have a right to additional breaks as an accommodation under the Human Rights Act. Exceptions to the Requirement to Provide Breaks An employer does not need to give a break if it is impractical because of an accident, urgent work is necessary or because of other unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstances, or because it is unreasonable for an employee to take a meal break. In these situations, an employee must be able to eat at work unless this is unsafe or unreasonable.

Employees Not Covered by the Rules The rest or eating breaks rules do not apply to the following employees:  

employees who work under a collective agreement athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Employment of Children The Labour Standards Code has rules about when children may be employed in Nova Scotia. The laws about the employment of children do not apply to people who are 16 years and over. The law generally divides children into two groups: those under 14 and those under 16.

Children Under 14 It is against the law to pay wages to a child under the age of 14 to do work that:  

is likely to be unwholesome or harmful to the child’s health or normal development is likely to keep the child out of school or make it hard for the child to learn at school

It is against the law to employ a child under 14 to do work:    

for more than 8 hours a day for more than 3 hours on a school day unless a certificate has been issued under the Education Act to allow the child to work for any time during the day when that time plus the time the child is in school adds up to more than 8 hours between the hours of 10 pm of any day and 6 am of the next day

Children Under 16 The Labour Standards Code says that no one is to employ a child under the age of 16 in certain types of work, such as:       

mining manufacturing construction forestry work in garages and automobile service stations work in hotels work in billiard rooms, pool rooms, bowling-alleys or theatres

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Children Working in Restaurants Employers may employ children aged 14 and 15 to work in restaurants provided they make sure these employees:   

are not operating cooking equipment are provided with safety training on all equipment and are provided with adequate supervision

Exception The rules regarding children not being allowed to work in the types of businesses identified previously do not apply to a situation where an employer employs a 14 or 15 year old member of his/her own family.

Liability of a Parent or Guardian Any parent or guardian of a child whose employment violates the Labour Standards Code can be fined unless he/she can prove that the child worked without his/her knowledge.

Making a Complaint Complaints about employers hiring under aged children are treated as priority complaints by Labour Standards. If you have concerns about the employment of under aged children, please contact Labour Standards immediately.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Foreign Worker Recruitment and Employment The Labour Standards Code provides employment protections for most employees in Nova Scotia. Some of the protections are specific to foreign workers who are especially vulnerable to unscrupulous recruitment and hiring practices. Below is information on Labour Standards rules in place to protect foreign workers. These rules apply to workers who are recruited for employment in Nova Scotia and are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

The Foreign Worker Rules Changes to Terms and Conditions of Employment Employers cannot eliminate or reduce a foreign worker’s wages, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment (e.g., hours). Also, a foreign worker cannot agree to an elimination or reduction in wages, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment. There are narrow exceptions to this rule. Withholding of Property Employers and recruiters cannot take or keep a foreign worker’s property (e.g. passport, work permit). Recovery of Recruitment Costs Recruiters cannot charge workers a fee for recruitment-related services. Employers cannot make deductions, directly or indirectly, from workers’ pay to cover the costs of recruiting. These rules apply to all workers, not only foreign workers. Recruiter Licensing Most individuals who wish to provide foreign worker recruitment-related services in Nova Scotia must be licensed with Labour Standards. If an employer wants to use a third party recruiter to hire foreign workers the employer generally must use a recruiter who is licensed. A list of licensed recruiters is available on the Labour Standards website. Employer Registration Most employers who wish to recruit and hire foreign workers for employment in Nova Scotia must obtain a Foreign Worker Employer Registration Certificate from Labour Standards.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Records Employers must keep employment records of all employees, including foreign workers. Employers must also keep records related to the recruitment of employees. These records must be kept for at least three (3) years after the work has been performed. Recruiters must keep records related to the recruitment of foreign workers for at least three (3) years after performing recruitment services (see also information sheet on Records).

Workers Not Covered by the Foreign Worker Rules There are three categories of foreign workers who are exempt from the foreign worker rules: 1. International Students - Students whose main reason for being in Nova Scotia is to study. 2. Specialized Service Providers - Individuals brought into the province for short periods of time to provide specialized services. For example, an individual employed by a company in Germany who is sent to Nova Scotia for three days to service equipment her employer sold to a company in Nova Scotia. 3. Independent Contractors - Individuals who are recruited from other countries to perform work in Nova Scotia as independent contractors (i.e. self-employed workers). Note: International students are covered by the rest of the Labour Standards Code.

Exceptions to the Requirement to be Licensed The following types of recruiters do not need to be licensed to provide foreign worker recruitment-related services: 



those who recruit foreign workers for jobs with provincial government reporting entities, for example provincial government departments, Nova Scotia Health Authority (hospitals), Nova Scotia Community College and school boards; municipalities and universities those who recruit foreign workers for jobs that fall under National Occupational Classification (NOC) Codes “0”, for example senior management jobs, and “A”, for example physicians, university professors and creative performing artists (e.g., actors)

Important note: If you are recruiting foreign workers for one of the organizations or types of jobs listed above and are also recruiting foreign workers for organizations or jobs that do not fall within the exemptions, you must be licensed. Employers do not need to be licensed to recruit foreign workers to work for the employer’s own business. Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Exceptions to the Requirement to be Registered The following types of employers do not need a Foreign Worker Employer Registration Certificate to recruit and hire foreign workers: 



provincial government reporting entities, for example provincial government departments, Nova Scotia Health Authority (hospitals), Nova Scotia Community College and school boards; municipalities and universities employers who seek foreign workers for jobs that fall under National Occupational Classification (NOC) Codes “0”, for example senior management jobs, and “A”, for example physicians, university professors and creative performing artists (e.g., actors)

Important note: If you are an employer using a third party recruiter to find foreign workers and you fall under these registration exemptions, you are also exempt from the requirement to use a licensed recruiter.

Making a Complaint Complaints must be filed with the Labour Standards Division within six months of a violation of the Labour Standards Code. For example, a worker who is charged recruitment fees has 6 months from the date the fees are charged to file a complaint.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Records Employers and recruiters are required to keep and maintain records relating to the employment and recruitment of employees and individuals.

Employers Employers must keep employment records to show that employees receive at least the benefits they are entitled to under the Labour Standards Code. These records must be kept at the employer’s main place of business and must be kept for at least 3 years after the work has been performed. As well, employers must be prepared to show that all outstanding pay has been paid. Employers must keep the following information:     

a list of the names of all employees, showing the employees’ age, sex, and last known address a record of the rates of wages, hours of work, vacation periods, leaves of absence, pay, and vacation pay each employee received a record of the date each employee began work and, if the employee no longer works for that employer, the last day he/she was employed a record of when employees were laid off or fired and the dates when those employees received notice of the end of their jobs a record of how much each employee has been paid

Employers who use a recruiter to recruit employees for employment must also keep the following information for 3 years after the work has been performed: 

the name and address of any person the employer paid a recruitment fee to and the date and amount of the payment

Pay Stubs Employers must give employees pay stubs when paying their wages. The pay stub must show:     

the pay period the employee is being paid for the number of hours the employee is being paid for the wage rate (for example, $15.00 per hour) all the deductions made from the employee’s pay how much the employee is being paid after deductions are made

Employers can provide electronic pay stubs as long as employees are able to access the electronic pay stub. Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Recruiters of Foreign Workers Recruiters of foreign workers must keep and maintain the following records for at least three years after the records are made:   

accurate financial records of his/her operations in Nova Scotia a copy of each agreement the recruiter has entered into respecting the recruitment of a foreign worker a list of every foreign worker recruited by the recruiter for employment in Nova Scotia

Method of Keeping Records Employers and recruiters may keep records using any method (from a manual system using a payroll book from a stationery store to a computerized bookkeeping/payroll program). The records must be organized, easy to read, accurate, and up to date.

Inspection of Records Labour Standards officers can inspect all records of employers and recruiters that in any way relate to the recruitment and employment of individuals, including foreign workers. They also have the right, at any reasonable time, to enter any work place or office to:  

inspect any place where people might work or where any individual was or is being recruited talk to any employee or any individual who was or is being recruited during or outside working hours

Employers and recruiters who fail to keep records, or to keep them up to date, and who fail to give information to the Director of Labour Standards or a Labour Standards officer may be guilty of a violation under the Labour Standards Code.

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

Labour Standards Complaint Process When Labour Standards receives a complaint, we first decide if we have the authority to address the concerns raised by the complainant. A complaint will not move forward if, for example, the complainant’s concerns do not fall under Labour Standards legislation or if the complaint is filed more than 6 months after a possible violation of the legislation occurred. If we have the authority to deal with the complaint, it will be assigned to a Labour Standards Officer for processing.

Processing Complaints The officer will handle the complaint in a fair, impartial and objective way. The officer’s role is to ensure compliance with the minimum standards set out in the legislation. S/he does not represent the parties to the complaint. “Parties” to the complaint include the person or business making the complaint (complainant) and the person or business against whom the complaint is made (respondent). Settlement of Complaints The officer will first try to resolve the complaint by asking the parties if they want to settle the matter. If the parties are interested in settling, the officer will facilitate settlement discussions. Settlement allows the parties to decide what they think would be a fair resolution to the complaint. If the parties do not want to settle, or if settlement discussions do not lead to an agreement, the officer will investigate the complaint. In some cases the complaint may be reassigned to another officer for further investigation. Investigation During the investigation, the officer will collect information from the parties. As part of the investigation, the respondent may need to give the officer information such as payroll records, pay stubs, time sheets, records of disciplinary action taken against an employee and workplace policies. The officer may need to interview witnesses who have information about the complaint. At any point in the investigation, a respondent may decide to settle the complaint or a complainant may decide to withdraw the complaint. A complainant may withdraw the complaint if, for example, he/she feels the evidence does not support it. Making a Decision If the complaint is not resolved during the investigation, the officer will complete the investigation and make a decision based on the best evidence available. The Labour Standards Code says that employers must keep records showing they met the minimum standards of the Code. If the employer does not have good records, they may not be

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

able to show they met the standards and an employee’s complaint may be successful. In some cases employees keep personal records, such as records of hours worked and pay received, and these records can be used to decide if the employer has met the standards. If an officer decides that money is owed to a complainant, and how much is owed, the parties cannot agree to settle the complaint for less than the amount owed. When the officer issues a formal decision, called a Director’s Order, the parties can either comply with the decision or, if they disagree with it, they can appeal it to the Labour Board.

Sharing Information Information that we collect is shared with the parties. Usually the information is communicated to the parties verbally by the officer or through a letter.

Appealing a Decision to the Labour Board The Labour Board is not part of the Labour Standards Division. It is a completely separate and independent body from the Labour Standards Division. If an employer or recruiter decides to appeal a Labour Standards decision ordering pay, they will need to file an appeal form with the Labour Board, and also provide the Board with either 1) the amount ordered by Labour Standards or $2000, whichever is less, or 2) a bond for the full amount ordered. The payment will be held by the Board until the appeal process is completed. Depending on the outcome of the appeal, a portion or all of the payment may be paid to the complainant or it may be returned to the employer or recruiter. For information about the appeal process, contact the Labour Board at 424-6730 or 1-877-4246730 (toll free in NS).

Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring. Department of Labour and Advanced Education Labour Standards Division Rev 04/17

Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights [email protected]

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Labour Standards Code - Government of Nova Scotia

Guide to the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code Purpose of this Guide The purpose of this Guide is to help people understand how Nova Scotia Labour ...

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