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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 ...»

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Guide to the Nova Scotia

Labour Standards


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 Halifax 902-424-4311, Toll Free 1-888-315-0110 Labour Standards Division novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights Rev 04/16 labrstd@novascotia.ca 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.

–  –  –

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.

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.

–  –  –

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.

 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:

–  –  –

The New Minimum Wage Rate Employers must pay experienced employees at least $10.70 per hour. They must pay inexperienced employees at least $10.20 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.

–  –  –

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 $10.75, his/her wage would be $24.19. If he/she worked at minimum wage (currently $10.70/hour), he/she would earn $26.75 (2.5 x $10.70) because the employer would have to round up the employee’s time to 2.5 hours.

He/she is, therefore, owed an additional $2.56 for this day ($26.75 - $24.19).

Call In

If an employee is called in to work outside his/her 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 $32.10 ($10.70 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 $32.10.

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 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 he/she 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 $321.00 ($10.70 x 30 hours of work). The employee is entitled to be paid at least the same as if he/she was being paid the minimum wage for each hour worked. He/she is, therefore, owed an additional $41.00 ($321.00 - $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:

–  –  –

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 $10.80 per hour then the employee earns $324.00 ($10.80 x 30) each week. If the employer Note: Complaints must be filed with NS Labour Standards within 6 months of an alleged violation of the legislation occurring.

–  –  –

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:

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