Overtime : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights

Overtime Pay


The general rule for overtime is that employees are entitled to receive 1 1/2 times their regular wage for each hour worked after 48 in a week. A week is defined as a consistent seven day period, e.g., Monday to Sunday, Wednesday to Tuesday. For example, if an employee makes $14.00 per hour, that employee would make $21.00 per hour for every hour worked over 48 hours.

These rules also apply to some salaried employees. Certain industries are characterized by irregular working hours and conditions and do not follow the general rule. Some have special rules about overtime and some others are not covered by overtime.


Special Rules

Some groups of employees have special rules to deal with overtime, called wage orders. The jobs covered by these wage orders are listed below.


Minimum Wage Order (General)

The following groups of employees receive overtime at 1 1/2 times the minimum wage after 48 hours worked in a week:

  • oil and gas employees (but not those in retail)
  • managers, supervisors, and employees employed in a confidential capacity. This includes managers and supervisors in the construction industry
  • transport (this group can average over 96 hours in two weeks)
  • primary fish and agricultural processors (but not meat)
  • flat-rate auto mechanics/auto body technicians
  • some types of professionals and their trainees
  • information technology (IT) professionals (but not employees who provide basic operational/technical support)
  • shipbuilders and related employees (but not those in retail)


Minimum Wage Order (Construction and Property Maintenance)

The following groups of employees receive 1 1/2 times their regular wage after 110 hours worked over a two week period:

  • those constructing, restoring or maintaining roads, streets, sidewalks, structures or bridges (except municipal)
  • those doing paving of all sorts
  • water and sewer installers
  • landscapers and snow removal employees
  • saw mill employees
  • metal fabricators and machine shop employees

For example, these employees could work 60 hours one week and 50 hours the following week without earning overtime because the combinded hours do not exceed 110.


Employees Not Covered by the Rules

The overtime rules do not apply to the following employees:

  • most farm employees
  • apprentices employed under the terms of an apprenticeship agreement under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act
  • anyone receiving training under government sponsored and government approved plans
  • anyone employed at a non-profit playground or summer camp
  • real estate and car salespeople
  • commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer's premises, but not those on established routes
  • insurance agents licensed under the Insurance Act
  • employees working on a fishing boat
  • 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
  • employees in the logging and forest industry
  • live-in health care and live-in personal care providers
  • janitors and building superintendents in buildings that include their residence


Fixed Cycle Averaging Agreements

An employer and employee may agree to average the employee’s hours of work over a number of weeks - where there is a pre-determined, fixed cycle of work that repeats over a specific period of time and provides for extended time off.  This means the employer would not need to pay overtime based on the number of hours the employee works in one week.  Instead overtime would be based on the total number of hours the employee worked in the cycle.

There are conditions that must be met for employers and employees to do this.  See Fixed Cycle Averaging Agreements or contact Labour Standards for information on this.