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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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 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 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 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.

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.

–  –  –

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.

–  –  –

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.

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.

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:



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