When an Employee Ends the Employment : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights

When the Employee Ends the Employment

 

Employees normally must give their employers written notice that they are quitting their jobs. “Notice” in this case is the amount of time between when the employee tells the employer in writing that he/she is leaving his/her job and the time that he/she actually leaves.

How much written notice an employee must give depends on how long he/she has worked for the same employer.

An employee must give:

  • one week’s written notice if he/she has a period of employment three months or more but less than two years
  • two weeks’ written notice if he/she has a period of employment of two years or more

 

Duty of the Employer When Notice Is Given

When an employee has given the employer proper notice that he/she is quitting, the employer:
  • may not change the employee’s rate of pay or any other condition of employment, such as hours of work or benefits
  • must pay the employee all the wages he/she is entitled to receive at the end of the notice period
  • must pay accumulated vacation pay within 10 days after the employment ends

 

Periods of Employment

An employee’s period of employment (how long he/she worked) at one workplace may have been broken because he/she was laid off, suspended, or fired.

This is important to know if he/she is about to resign and has to decide whether to give his/her employer one or two weeks’ notice. 

The Labour Standards Code states that an employee's period of employment is considered unbroken unless it is broken:

  • by 12 months or more of layoff or suspension 
  • by more than 13 weeks that resulted from the employee resigning or the employer firing the employee

 

When an Employee Does Not Need to Give Notice

Just as an employer sometimes does not always have to give an employee notice that his/her employment is ending, there are also times when employees do not have to give notice. These are:

  • when the employee has been employed less than three months
  • when the employer breaks the terms and conditions of employment (for example, the employer fails to pay the employee wages or reduces the employee’s rate of pay or hours of work)

 

When an Employee Does Not Give Notice

When an employee quits without notice, the employer may file a complaint with the Labour Standards Division and claim any pay owed to the employee. The maximum amount the employer may receive is the amount of pay the employee would earn in the notice period. For example, if an employee must give the employer one week’s written notice, but quits without notice, then the employer may make a claim on unpaid wages equal to one week's pay.

To claim the employee's unpaid wages the employer must be able to show that he/she lost money or had extra costs because of the employee quitting without notice. As an example, an employer may be able to claim the cost of paying employees overtime to finish work the employee would have completed if he/she had not quit abruptly.

 

Employees Not Covered by the Rules

The rules about employees giving notice of quitting their jobs do not apply for the following employees:
  • employees employed in the construction industry
  • real estate and automobile salespersons
  • commissioned salespersons who work outside the employer's place of business, except those on established routes
  • employees who work on a fishing boat
  • employees in a union with a collective agreement in force
  • 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
  • athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour