On April 29, 2014 the Saskatchewan government finally proclaimed the Saskatchewan Employment Act to be in force even though the new Act had received Royal Assent on May 15, 2013. As most of you are aware, the new Saskatchewan Employment Act replaces a number of employment-related pieces of legislation with one single new Act, most importantly employment standards, labour relations and occupational health and safety.
The details have also been released with Employment Standards Regulations published in the Gazette on May 2, 2014, Minimum Wage Regulations published on April 11, 2014 with an effective date of April 29, 2014. Previous Minimum Wage Regulations (Reg. 8) are renamed the Conditions of Employment Regulations and continue in force with a few amendments. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 continue in force.
Employers are advised to review their human resources policies to ensure that they are in accordance with any new or revised employment standards included in the Act, keeping in mind that employment standards are minimum requirements and many employers already offer greater working conditions than the minimums required by the Act.
The most notable changes in the Saskatchewan Employment Act in respect of employment standards are the following:
- Hours of work, overtime, modified work arrangements — the Act now allows employers to schedule four ten-hour days or five eight-hour days, with overtime payable after the daily and weekly maximums unless covered under a modified work arrangement or averaging agreement. The Act allows employees and the employer to agree to average their work hours over one, two, three or four week schedules without a work permit. Overtime hour credits may now be banked by employees. Employers should review and/or amend policies with respect to Hours of Work, Overtime, Flexible Work Arrangements.
- Termination — notice or pay in lieu of notice required for employees with thirteen weeks consecutive employment. Employees may be required to provide two weeks notice of resignation. Employers should review and/or amend Termination of Employment, Retirement.
- Leaves of Absence — service requirements for maternity, parental and adoption leaves is reduced from 20 weeks to 13 weeks. New statutory leaves include organ donation leave, critically ill child care leave, crime-related child death or disappearance leave, citizenship ceremony leave. Employers should review and/or amend policies with respect to Personal Leave of Absence, Maternity Leave, Parental/Adoption Leave, Family Leave (Emergency Leave), Compassionate Care Leave, Military/Reservist Leave, Critically Ill Child Care/Crime-Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave.
- Minimum Wage — minimum wage indexed to consumer price index to be announced on or before June 30 each year, with an effective date of October 1. Reporting pay is minimum three times hourly wage, used to be three hours at minimum wage. Review policies dealing with Pay Principles, Pay Range Structure, Reporting Pay, Call-in Pay.
Stay tuned for updated Sample Statements of Policy and Procedure for Saskatchewan which will be provided to subscribers of the Human Resources PolicyPro, Manitoba and Saskatchewan Edition,over the coming months.
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