Weekly Hours and Overtime
What is the regular work week? There's no regular work day or work week, and no maximum work day and week.
Generally, however, the standard work week is taken to be 48 hours, because after this period overtime kicks in.
(Note: If you belong to a union, check your collective agreement. You might have better hours of work and overtime provisions than the minimum protections found in the law.)
What about rest days? Normally, you're entitled to at least 24 hours off every 7 days. But your boss can ask the Director of Labour Standards for an exemption, and will likely get it if most of the workers agree. However, the exemption needs to include another arrangement for a rest period.
Do I get a meal break? There's nothing in the law that covers meal breaks.
What happens if there's an emergency? Your boss can make you work more than six days in a row if there's been an accident or if there's urgent work that needs to be done to machinery or the plant. But your employer can only require the amount of work needed to avoid serious disruption to normal operations.
Are all workers covered by these rules? No. These workers are not covered:
- Certain commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer's place of business, except those with an established route.
- Anyone who works on fishing boats.
- Those who provide domestic services for an immediate family member of the employee, or for no more than 24 hours.
- Workers in Employment Insurance job creation or similar programs.
- Certain professionals, such as lawyers, dentists and doctors.
- Management employees are partially excluded from these laws.
How is overtime calculated? Employers are required by law to pay workers only one and a half times the minimum wage if they work more than 48 hours in a week. So if you earn more than $8.70 an hour, you receive nothing extra for working more than 44 hours a week.
Can I refuse to work overtime? No. The law does not give workers this right.
What if I'm still not sure which rules apply to me? You can contact:
Nova Scotia Environment and Labour,
5151 Terminal Road, P.O. Box 697,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 2T8.
Phone: (902) 424 5300.
Fax: (902) 424 0503.