Ending the Employment Relationship : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights

Ending Employment FAQ

 

Does an employer need a reason for ending an employee's employment?

If an employee has been employed with an employer for less than ten years, the employer does not need a reason to end the employee's employment but the employer may be required to provide the employee with written notice or pay in lieu of notice.

 

How much notice does an employer have to give an employee?

The amount of notice an employer needs to give an employee is based on the length of the employee's period of employment.

If an employee's period of employment is three months or more but less than two years, the employer must give the employee at least one week's written notice or one week's pay in lieu of notice.

If an employee's period of employment is two years or more but less than five years, the employer must give the employee two weeks' written notice or two weeks' pay in lieu of notice.

If an employee's period of employment is five years or more but less than 10 years, the employer must give the employee four weeks' written notice or four weeks' pay in lieu of notice.

Different rules apply to situations where 10 or more employees are laid off within a four week period. See Section 72(2) of the Code which deals with group terminations.

 

Does an employer always have to give an employee notice?

No, if an employee is guilty of wilful misconduct, disobedience, or neglect of duty that has not been condoned by the employer, the employer can end the employee's employment without notice.

There are a number of other situations in which employers are not required to give employees notice. Refer to Section 72(3) of the Code for further information.

 

What about an employee whose period of employment is 10 years or more?

An employer cannot fire or suspend an employee whose period of employment is 10 years or more unless the employer has just cause or unless one of the exceptions under section 72(3) of the Code apply.

An employer can lay off an employee whose period of employment is ten years or more. The employer would be required to give the employee eight weeks' written notice of the lay off or eight weeks' pay in lieu of notice unless one of the exceptions under section 72(3) of the Code apply.

 

What type of remedy would an employee of ten years or more be entitled to if an employer fires the employee without just cause?

The employee could be entitled to be reinstated to his/her position.

 

Under what circumstances might an employee be entitled to severance and how is severance calculated?

You will want to speak to a lawyer about severance as awarded through the courts. The Labour Standards Code & Regulations do not provide for severance.

 

Does an employer have to provide a casual employee with notice before ending the employee's employment?

Yes, unless the employee was hired for a specific term.

 

What about seasonal employees, do employers have to provide them with notice?

The Code states that employees who are hired for a definite term or task for no longer than 12 months do not need to be provided with notice. An employer does not normally need to provide seasonal employees with notice unless the employer ends their employment before the season ends.

 

Does it make a difference if the seasonal employee has been employed with the employer for a long period of time?

In certain situations long term seasonal employees may be considered to be employed for an indefinite term and would, therefore, be entitled to notice. These types of situations would have to be assessed on a case by case basis by the Labour Standards Division to determine whether notice is required.

 

If an employee works on and off for an employer over a period of time how is the employee's period of employment calculated?

An employee's period of employment runs from the time the employee is hired to the time the employee's job ends and it includes any periods where the employee is laid off or suspended for less than twelve consecutive months. If there was a break in the employee's employment because the employee quit or was fired, provided the break was less than 13 weeks long the employee's period of employment would continue to run from the date the employee was originally hired. If the break was more than 13 weeks long, the employee's new period of employment would start from the date he/she was re-hired.

 

Do employees have to provide their employers with notice if they quit their employment?

If an employee has been employed with an employer between three months and two years, the employee must provide the employer with one week's notice in writing. If an employee has been employed with an employer for two years or more the employee must provide the employer with two weeks' notice in writing. Employees who have been employed for less than three months are not required to give notice.

 

Are there other circumstances where an employee does not have to provide his/her employer with notice?

If an employer breaks the terms and conditions of employment, the employee is not required to give notice. For example, if an employer fails to pay an employee's wages, the employee can quit without notice.

 

Do the notice provisions in the Code apply to all workers?

No, some industries, like construction, are exempt from the notice requirements.