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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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 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.

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:

–  –  –

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.

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 rules regarding breaks do not apply to employees who work under a collective agreement.

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:

–  –  –

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.

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.

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.

–  –  –

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.

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.

–  –  –

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.

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



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