What is the Saskatchewan Employment Act?
The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) is a legislation used to regulate employment in Saskatchewan.
It outlines the minimum standards for basic conditions of employment, such as minimum wage, work hours, overtime, leaves of absence, and termination notice and pay. It also sets down the legal rights and duties of employers and employees.
Please note that while employers can offer more benefits and higher wages to employees, they cannot pay less than the minimum entitlements set down in the provincial employment standards legislation.
Who does the Saskatchewan Employment Act apply to?
Part II of the Act applies to most provincially regulated workplaces. Federally regulated workplaces are covered by the Canada Labour Code.
Saskatchewan Employment Act also applies to unionized employers and employees. This means collective agreements can’t offer employees less than the legislation.
Who is excluded from the Saskatchewan Employment Act?
Employers and employees excluded from the Act include, but are not limited to:
- Athletes while participating in athletic endeavors
- Federally regulated businesses and industries (For e.g., banks, airports, airlines)
- Family businesses that employ only immediate family members
- Self-employed people, such as independent contractors
- Student learners (Please note that the legislation applies to interns)
What are some important areas of employment covered under the Saskatchewan Employment Act?
Some major areas covered by the Saskatchewan Employment Act include:
The minimum wage in Saskatchewan is $11.81. Minimum wage increases in Saskatchewan are announced by June 30th and take effect on October 1st every year. Provincially regulated employers must pay their minimum wage employees the correct minimum wage.
Saskatchewan has 10 statutory holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Family Day
- Good Friday
- Victoria Day
- Canada Day
- Saskatchewan Day
- Labour Day
- Remembrance Day
- Christmas Day
Easter Monday, Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day are not public holidays in Saskatchewan.
How is stat holiday pay calculated in Saskatchewan?
There are three types of payment for public holidays: public holiday pay (for employees who get the day off with pay), premium pay (for those working on the public holiday), and overtime (during a week with a public holiday, employees receive overtime after working 32 hours, not including the hours worked on the public holiday).
Do all employees qualify for public holiday pay in Saskatchewan?
Yes. All workers are entitled to general holiday pay for the 10 Saskatchewan stat holidays irrespective of how they are paid or their hours of work. But special stat holiday pay rules apply to those employed in operation of a well drilling rig, commercial hog operations, and to the full-time staff at hospitals, educational institutions, nursing homes, hotels, and restaurants.
Like many other jurisdictions, overtime in Saskatchewan is paid at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly wage.
However, unlike other jurisdictions, Saskatchewan has a unique overtime threshold because the province has two standard work weeks. While the weekly threshold for overtime pay is 40 hours, the daily threshold is either eight hours or ten hours, depending on the work week the employer chooses to abide by.
For example, if an employee works for eight hours a day from Monday to Friday, they would be meeting the same 40-hour a week threshold as an employee who works ten hours a day from Monday to Thursday.
It is important to note that even if an employer pays overtime, employees cannot be scheduled to work more than 16 hours in any 24-hour period unless there is an emergency. Employees must also receive at least eight consecutive hours of rest in every 24-hour period.
Some employees are exempt from the overtime provisions in the Saskatchewan Employment Act. Some exemptions include employees who provide services of a managerial character, professional practitioners required to be registered or licensed with a self-regulating body, logging industry employees and certain types of travelling salespersons.
Vacation time and pay
Vacation time and pay is another area where Saskatchewan differs from other provinces such as Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia. Employees in Saskatchewan with more than one year of employment but less than ten years are entitled to three weeks’ vacation per year, paid at the rate of 5.77% of the employee’s wages for the 12-month period.
Employees with ten years of employment or more are entitled to four weeks’ vacation per year, paid at the rate of 7.69% of the employee’s wages for the 12-month period.
If an employee does not take their vacation time, the employee must receive their vacation pay no later than 11 months following the date when the annual vacation was earned.
Job-protected leaves of absence
Job-protected leaves of absence in Saskatchewan are divided into the following five categories:
- Family (maternity, adoption, parental, bereavement, and crime-related child death or crime related child disappearance leaves)
- Service (reserve force, nomination/election and candidate/public office, and citizenship ceremony leaves)
- Medical (organ donation, critically ill childcare, critically ill adult care, and compassionate care)
- Interpersonal violence leave
- Public health emergency leave
Employees who are currently employed and have been for more than 13 consecutive weeks by the same employer are eligible to take most of the leaves mentioned above. However, for leaves such as maternity, adoption, parental, organ donation, reserve force service and nomination/election and candidate/public office, the employee must provide the employer with at least four weeks’ written notice.
Other than five days of interpersonal violence leave, employers are not required to pay for job-protected leaves. However, an employee who wishes to take a leave may be eligible for Employment Insurance.
In Saskatchewan, a layoff is defined as the temporary interruption of the services of an employee for a period longer than six consecutive workdays. If an employer knows they must lay an employee off work for more than six consecutive workdays, they must provide the employee with notice of layoff or pay in-lieu in the same way they must provide notice of termination or pay in-lieu.
After the employee is provided with the applicable notice of layoff under the Saskatchewan Employment Act, they can be off work for an indefinite amount of time before they are recalled back to their position.
Termination of employment
Can you be fired without cause in Saskatchewan?
Yes. Termination of employment in Saskatchewan is very similar to other jurisdictions. If an employee is being terminated on a without cause basis, they are entitled to the below notice of termination or pay in-lieu thereof:
|Notice Requirements for Layoffs and Terminations|
|Employee’s length of service||Minimum period of written notice|
|more than 13 consecutive weeks but less than one year||one week|
|more than one year but less than three years||two weeks|
|more than three years but less than five years||four weeks|
|more than five years but less than 10 years||six weeks|
|more than 10 years||eight weeks|
Employees are not owed notice of termination or pay in-lieu if they:
- Have less than 13 consecutive weeks of service
- Are being terminated for just cause
- Resign (note that for a resignation, employees with more than 13 consecutive weeks of service are obligated to provide their employer with at least two weeks’ written notice)
Lastly, employees who do not have an employment contract – or employees who have an employment contract that does not contain a valid termination clause – are entitled to reasonable notice of termination at common law.
Are there any other laws besides the Saskatchewan Employment Act that affect workplaces?
Yes. Besides the Saskatchewan Employment Act, other important employment-related legislation includes the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workers’ Compensation Act, etc.
How do I contact Employment Standards in Saskatchewan?
Employment Standards Saskatchewan enforces the Saskatchewan Employment Act, among other employment-related legislation. You can contact Employment Standards Saskatchewan by calling them at 800-667-1783 or emailing: [email protected]
Do you need help staying compliant with the Saskatchewan Employment Act?
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This article provides a brief overview of the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA). It is not a legal document. For more details, please refer to the SEA.