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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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 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.

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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.

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

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.

*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.

–  –  –

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.

–  –  –

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. the employer has made their expectations clear to the employee

2. the employer has warned the employee to change behaviour

3. the employer has given the employee a reasonable chance to change his/her behaviour

4. 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: 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 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 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:



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