Generally, Labour Standards legislation applies to:
However, not all employees are covered by all areas of the legislation. The rules can be complicated. If you have any questions contact the Labour Standards Division.
The legislation does not apply to:
Complaints must be filed with the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Division within six months of a violation of the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code taking place for the Division to have the authority to address the complaint. For example, an employee begins a job on July 2, 2019 and regularly works overtime hours without receiving overtime pay. Ten months later, on May 1, 2020, the employee files a complaint with Labour Standards claiming overtime pay dating back to their first week of employment. Labour Standards cannot order the employer to pay overtime pay owed since July 2, 2019. Labour Standards can only order the employer to pay overtime pay owed between November 1, 2019 and May 1, 2020, which is the 6-month period immediately preceding the date the employee filed the complaint.
If you feel you have a Labour Standards complaint, contact us by phone or email, or drop in to our office. Our officers will discuss your concern with you and let you know if we can address it under our legislation. If we can and you decide to file a complaint, our officers will send you a complaint form by mail, fax or email, or you can pick one up from our office.
You can return the complaint form to Labour Standards by mail, fax, email, or by dropping it off to our office. We must receive your complaint form within 6 months of the incident happening. If you are faxing, please remember to fax every page of the form.
When Labour Standards receives a complaint, we first decide if we have the authority to address the concerns raised by the complainant. A complaint will not move forward if, for example, the complainant’s concerns do not fall under Labour Standards legislation or if the complaint is filed more than 6 months after a possible violation of the legislation occurred. If we have the authority to deal with the complaint, it will be assigned to a Labour Standards Officer for processing.
The officer will handle the complaint in a fair, impartial, and objective way. The officer’s role is to ensure compliance with the minimum standards set out in the Labour Standards Code. S/he does not represent the parties to the complaint. “Parties” to the complaint include the person or business making the complaint (complainant) and the person or business against whom the complaint is made (respondent).
The officer will first try to resolve the complaint by asking the parties if they want to settle the complaint. If the parties are interested in settling, the officer will facilitate settlement discussions. Settlement allows the parties to decide what they think would be a fair resolution to the complaint. If the parties do not want to settle, or if settlement discussions do not lead to an agreement, the officer will investigate the complaint. In some cases the complaint may be reassigned to another officer for further investigation.
During the investigation, the officer will collect information from the parties. As part of the investigation, the respondent may need to give the officer information such as payroll records, pay stubs, time sheets, records of disciplinary action taken against an employee and workplace policies. The officer may need to interview witnesses who have information about the complaint. At any point in the investigation, a respondent may decide to settle the complaint, or a complainant may decide to withdraw the complaint. A complainant may withdraw the complaint if, for example, s/he feels the evidence does not support it.
If the complaint is not resolved during the investigation, the officer will complete the investigation and make a decision based on the best evidence available. The Labour Standards Code says that employers must keep records showing they met the minimum standards of the Code. If the employer does not have good records, they may not be able to show they met the standards and an employee’s complaint may be successful. In some cases employees keep personal records, such as records of hours worked and pay received, and these records can be used to decide if the employer has met the standards.
If an officer decides that money is owed to a complainant, and how much is owed, the parties cannot agree to settle the complaint for less than the amount owed.
When the officer issues a formal decision (Director's Order to Pay or Notice of No Violation) the parties can either comply with the decision or, if they disagree with it, they can appeal it to the Labour Board.
Information that we collect is shared with the parties. Usually the information is communicated to the parties verbally by the officer or through a letter or email.
The Labour Standards Code provides that when anyone makes a complaint to the Labour Standards Division and asks that their identity be withheld, their name or any identifying information will not be revealed. However, some complaints cannot be pursued on a confidential basis.
It is against the law to fire, layoff, or discriminate in any way against an employee:
If you have any questions, please contact Labour Standards.