Overtime : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights

Overtime Pay


The general rule for overtime is that employees are entitled to receive 1½ 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 $16 per hour, that employee would make $24 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
  • 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)
  • transport (this group receives overtime after 96 hours in a 2-week period)


Minimum Wage Order (Construction and Property Maintenance)

The following groups of employees receive 1½ times their regular wage after 110 hours worked over a two-week period:

  • those constructing, restoring or maintaining roads, streets, sidewalks, structures (such as buildings) or bridge
  • 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 combined hours do not exceed 110.

Note: For municipal employees doing street construction, restoration or maintenance work, overtime is 1.5 times their regular rate after 48 hours in a week; if these employees are unionized the collective agreement applies instead.


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 (see NS Apprenticeship Agency)
  • 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
  • athletes while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour
  • employees who work under a collective agreement


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.



Do the overtime provisions apply to salaried employees?

Yes. The Code overall applies to salaried employees.


How would overtime be calculated for salaried employees?

To calculate the hourly rate, divide the employee's salary (per week) by the employee's regular hours worked per week. If there are no set hours, the number of hours should be a fair representation of a normal work week. Then, calculate the overtime amount due by multiplying the employee's wage per hour by the number of overtime hours worked (over 48 hours per week).

For example, if the employee's contract says the employee works 40 hours a week for a salary of $600, that means the employee's hourly wage is $15 per hour. Therefore the employee's overtime pay would be $22.50 per hour.


What if an employee currently works 35 hours per week. Should the employee be paid overtime if the employee has to work more than 35 hours?

In general, employers are not required to pay overtime until the employee has worked more than 48 hours in a week.



What are the overtime rules for managers and supervisors?

In general, managers and supervisors are entitled to overtime at 1 ½ times the minimum wage, after 48 hours worked in a week.


How does Labour Standards define a manager/supervisor?

The following will help define manager/supervisor. Does the employee:

  • supervise or direct workers?
  • discipline subordinates (independently or as part of a management team)?
  • evaluate the performance of subordinates?
  • hire or promote staff or have the ability to recommend hiring/promotions?
  • exercise independence or discretion in performing assigned duties?
  • participate in carrying out the employer's budgets and performance requirements
  • make significantly more than other employees?

What are the overtime rules for the construction industry?

The overtime provisions contained in the Minimum Wage Order (Construction and Property Maintenance) apply to the construction industry. In general, employees of the construction industry are entitled to receive 1½ their regular wage after 110 hours worked over two weeks. For example, if a construction worker worked 112 hours over a two week period, the employee would be entitled to 110 hours at the employee's regular wage and the other two hours at 1½ times the employee's regular wage.