Fair, Safe Student Summer Jobs, Op-ed
NOTE: This is an op-ed piece by Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More.
Most students have wrapped up school terms and turned their attention to vacations and summer jobs.
A summer job is almost a rite of passage. It is a great chance to make friends, learn new skills, make extra money and start saving for the future. It can also serve as the first exposure many have to the work world.
Entering the workforce for the first time can be intimidating. It is a whole new type of responsibility, one that can be a little overwhelming. Because of this, people can be uncomfortable speaking up about concerns and asking questions at their jobs.
However, every young person, parent or guardian, in fact every Nova Scotian, needs to remember that they have the right to work in a fair and safe environment.
The province and its partners try to make sure all Nova Scotians understand their rights and responsibilities as protected by laws and regulations.
Employees have the right to refuse any unsafe work. This includes being told about any dangers on the job and being given the proper knowledge and equipment to work safely.
Nova Scotians not only have these rights, they have a responsibility to do their part to maintain and strengthen overall workplace safety.
Last year, 3,665 Nova Scotians younger than 25 reported claims to the Workers' Compensation Board. We must all work together to make our workplaces as safe as possible and do our part to help decrease these numbers.
It's this simple: if you spot something at work that you think is unsafe, you need to speak up. It may be a lack of information or a practice that needs to change, but no one wants to see a person get hurt.
While staying safe is one of most important aspects of any job Nova Scotians also have the right to be treated fairly in the workplace.
Whether it's a first job or well into a career, everyone has rights under the Labour Standards Code. This includes a minimum wage, holiday pay, vacation pay, designated closing days and rules about how employees should be paid.
The province, employees and employers all have a role to play in keeping our workplaces safe and fair. There are several resources online at gov.ns.ca/lae that explain the rights and responsibilities for workplaces. The Workers' Compensation Board also has online tips on how to stay safe at somanyways.ca and worksafeforlife.ca .
To speak with someone about Occupational Health and Safety, call toll free at 1-800-952-2687. For questions about Labour Standards, call 1-888-315-0110.