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17 Labor Laws in Saskatchewan Province

A good knowledge of the basic labor laws in Saskatchewan can increase your interest to work there.

Working in Saskatchewan can be both fun and rewarding as there are laws put in place to safeguard employees from being exploited by their employers. We will be examining 17 labor laws in Saskatchewan that guide employers’ relationships with their employees.

It will help you know your rights as an employee, privileges, and what will constitute a trespass.

Labor Laws in Saskatchewan

1. Minimum wage 2021

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage was revised this year to $11.81. This rate was effective on 1st October 2021.

Also, not everyone is eligible to be paid using this rate. See Saskatchewan’s minimum wage and the average rate for various occupations.

2. Work hours

Standard working hours are 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. Any hours over that qualifies as overtime.

3. Overtime

The basic overtime rate in Saskatchewan is a minimum of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly wage rate. This means that an employee who earns $14 per hour, will be paid $21($14*1.5) in overtime work.

4. Overtime Bank

This refers to an agreement between an employer and the employee which allows overtime work by an employee to be banked instead of paying for it.

The banked time will then be taken off regular working hours pay at a later date agreed by both parties.

5. Report for duty pay

An employee is entitled to be paid a minimum of three hours at the employer’s hourly pay rate, every time they report for duty, whether they work or not, and whether they work less than three hours.

6. Reporting for duty pay exceptions

Some people are exempted from the reporting for duty pay of three hours pay to one hour. So, they get paid for a one-hour wage rate even if they don’t work up to an hour. If they work for more than one hour, the normal hourly wage rate of the employer will be paid.

  • This exemption applies to:
  • Noon hour supervisors employed by a school board.
  • School bus drivers are employed by a school board to transport students to and from school.
  • Students working within the school term.
  • The standard reporting for duty pay rules apply to the above-mentioned employees during school breaks and vacation, and to post-secondary students.

7. Public Holidays Pay

Saskatchewan has ten statutory public holidays for which employees are to be paid. An employee is to receive five percent of their 28 days (four weeks) wages before a public holiday as public holiday pay.

This includes vacation pay and any other public holiday pay in the last four weeks before that public holiday.

8. Pay for working on a public holiday

An employee who works on a public holiday is entitled to receive 1.5 of the regular hourly wage. This is in addition to the normal public holiday pay.

9. Public Holiday week overtime pay

Employees are entitled to work for 32 hours in a week that has a public holiday. These hours are outside those hours worked on the public holiday.

10. Job Seeker Protection

Job seekers in Saskatchewan are not allowed by law to pay any fee to find a job or to get employment. They can pay to advertise their availability to work.

11. Employee layoff and termination

Both the employer and the employee need to notify either of them within a considerable period before layoff or termination of employment.

This applies to both group and individual layoff or termination of employment. The minimum period is two weeks.

12. Job-protected leaves

Several types of leave are to be covered by your employer such as; family leave, service leave, medical leave, interpersonal violence leave, and public health emergency leave. All job-protected leaves are unpaid, but the employee gets to keep their job.

13. Annual Vacation and vacation pay

An employee is allowed to take three weeks of vacation in each business year. If the employee has worked with the employer for up to 10 years, then the employee is allowed to take up to four weeks of vacation each year.

The employer gives vacation pay to employees, but if an employee is called into work during a vacation, the employee must be paid the normal hourly wage for the hours worked.

14. Absence from work due to illness

Employees in Saskatchewan are protected from any discriminatory actions that could be taken against them by their employers due to being absent from work because of an injury or illness.

Discriminatory actions are those actions that can be taken by the employer which hurts their job. Actions such as intimidation, demotion, reduction in wages, discipline, layoff, termination, change in work hours, transfer, or loss of promotion opportunity.

However, the Saskatchewan Employment Act does not provide for paid sick leave, but some employers can convert vacations to sick leave, though this is not provided for by legislation and should be stated clearly in the employee’s pay records.

15. Minimum employment age

In Saskatchewan, the minimum employment age is 16, though there has also been the establishment of an “absolute” minimum age of 14 provided they fulfill some statutory requirements.

As a 14 or 15-year-old employee, you will be requested to complete the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course (YWRCC) and obtain a Certificate of Completion in addition to written permission from your parent or guardian.

Any person below age 14 will not be allowed to work unless a special permit is obtained from the Director of Employment Standards by the employer. Meanwhile, the minimum age of employment does not apply to the following:

  • Self-employed
  • Babysitters
  • Newspaper carriers
  • Traditional farming operations
  • Family businesses employing only immediate family.

Young workers restriction

There are several workplace restrictions for young workers as embedded in The Saskatchewan Employment Act. Below are some of those restrictions:

View Employment restriction for workers

Employment standard restrictions for 14 and 15 year-olds

  • You cannot work after 10 p.m. the night before a school day;
  • You cannot work before classes begin on a school day; and
  • You cannot work more than 16 hours in a school week.

These restrictions do not apply during breaks such as summer vacation or Christmas holidays. During these times, you can work as any other employee. All other employment standards will apply to you.

Employment restrictions for under 18 workers

  • You cannot work:
  • underground or in an open pit at a mine;
  • as a radiation worker;
  • in an asbestos process;
  • in a silica process; and
  • in any activity that requires the use of an atmosphere supplying respirator.

Employment restrictions for under 16 workers

You cannot work:

  • on a construction site;
  • at a pulp mill, sawmill, or woodworking establishment;
  • at a smelter, foundry, refinery or metal processing or fabricating operation;
  • in a confined space (such as a manhole);
  • in a meat, fish, or poultry processing plant;
  • in a forestry or logging operation;
  • on a drilling service rig;
  • as an operator of powered mobile equipment (such as a forklift, crane, or a hoist);
  • where there is exposure to chemical or biological substances that could endanger your health and safety; and
  • in power line construction or maintenance.

16. Work schedules and breaks

An employer is expected to provide work schedules for all employees at least a week before the schedule commences. The schedule can be changed within short notice if uncertainty arises that demands such action. It can be communicated to the employee via any means possible, so far they get it.

The schedule should cover the following within a one-week plan:

  • Work start and closing time
  • Meal breaks (start and closing time)

Meal Break

An employer is expected to give a 30 minutes meal break after every five hours of work. The meal breaks are unpaid.

Rest Break

An employer is not obligated to give a rest break, but where it is given, it should be paid for.

Days of Rest in a week

Employees working for 20 or more hours a week need to be given at least a 24-hour rest from work every seven days (except if fighting forest or prairie fires).

17. Modified work arrangement

Sometimes, employers and employees can come into a mutual agreement to modify their work hours over a specified period. This arrangement is different from the normal 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week schedule.

It is a way of giving the workers more off time and making the work time flexible. It should be noted that this is an agreement and not a permit. It also needs to state when overtime will be charged and the work hours should not be more than 12 hours in 24 hours.

A Modified Work Arrangement (MWA) may average as stated below:

  • 40 hours over one week,
  • 80 hours over two weeks,
  • 120 hours over three weeks,
  • 160 hours over four weeks.
See MWA Agreements Requirements for workers

The following are the requirements to be met for an MWA agreement to take place.
Agreements must:

  • be in writing;
  • be signed by the employer and employees agreeing to the arrangement, or a majority of the employees affected;
  • specify the number of weeks over which the hours will be averaged;
  • specify the daily hours of work after which an employee becomes entitled to overtime (this must match the affected employee’s daily schedule);
  • specify the work schedule that reflects the daily and weekly hours agreed to by the parties;
  • provide a start date and an expiry date for the modified work agreement; and
    be in place at least one week before any work schedule changes.

In addition, agreements:

  • cannot be longer than two years;
  • cannot require employees to work more than 12 hours in a day without overtime pay; and
  • must be given to all employees covered by the agreement, and/or posted in the workplace.