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The New Saskatchewan Employment Act (Bill 85)

The Act consolidates 12 pieces of labor legislation into one updated and comprehensive Act that protects workers, promotes growth and increases accountability.  It is an Act that is fair to employees, employers and unions.”

The amendments include:

  • Creation of three additional leaves (in addition to the two created in the original act for organ donation and to attend a citizenship ceremony) for critically ill child care leave, crime-related child death and disappearance leaves and waiving of the four-week notice requirement as notice may not be possible or appropriate to require
  • Providing part-time employees with overtime for all hours worked in excess of eight hours in a day.  This is in recognition that part-time workers do not enjoy the benefits of a modified work arrangement (days off)
  • Clarification that employees are entitled to overtime where the daily maximum hours established by their work schedule is exceeded.  The two schedules provided for in the legislation include hours in excess of eight hours in a day or 10 hours in a day
  • Addition of the definition of “emergency circumstance” to mean a situation where there is an imminent risk or danger to a person, property or the employer’s business that could not have been foreseen by the employer
  • Requiring employees to provide two weeks written notice of their intention to leave their jobs;
  • Clarification of the definition of “employee” to make it clear that employees whose primary duties are confidential in nature and directly impact the bargaining unit cannot belong to a union
  • Amending the definition of “supervisory employee” to clarify that the primary duties are to be supervisory in nature
  • Requiring that good faith negotiations occur prior to ordering a last offer vote
  • Requiring unions to provide an audited financial statement to its members and provide unaudited financial statements for each bargaining unit to the members of the unit; as well as allowing the unions to provide this information in various means including electronically, posted in the workplace, mailed to the employee; personally given to the employee; or provided on a secure website.

The new Act also contains provisions that include:

  • Indexation of the minimum wage
  • Provisions to protect individuals searching for work from mistreatment and fraud perpetrated by unscrupulous recruitment service providers
  • While maintaining the 40 hour work week, two work arrangements will be permitted in the legislation - eight hours per day for five days per week or 10 hours per day for four days per week. This is consistent with other jurisdictions in western Canada
  • Reduction of the qualification period for maternity, parental and adoption leave from 20 weeks to 13 weeks of service
  • Recognition that no individual or group may be compensated differently on the grounds of any prohibition identified within The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code

For more information, contact:

Labour Relations and Workplace Safety
, Regina

Phone: 306-787-4156

Regular Work Hours and Benefits

The Saskatchewan Employment Act allows for Modified Work Arrangements, which allow the employer and employees to agree to average hours of work over one, two, three or four weeks.  The daily maximum that can be agreed to before overtime applies is 12 hours.  As well, while maintaining the 40-hour workweek, two work arrangements are permitted in the legislation; eight hours per day for five days per week or 10 hours per day for four days per week.

A sick leave policy should be established that is reasonable to both parties.

The employer could absorb professional fees, time loss, and registration fees for mutually beneficial professional development.

Job sharing opportunities could be made available to dental assistants.

Part-time employees should receive benefits at a pro-rated amount.

Employers hiring part-time or hourly paid employees should make benefit policies clearly understood at the time of employment.

Personal days should be available to all employees.  The employer may wish to provide the employee with benefits through some type of insurance coverage.  Insurance premiums could be covered completely as an office expense or the employer and employee may wish to agree on a fifty - fifty or some other type of arrangement.

Employers who wish to see the current employee plans supplemented offer group Registered Retirement Savings Plans. Their intention is to increase the retirement benefit and provide for the possibility for early retirement. The role of the employer may be limited to providing the payroll deduction framework within which the plan operates, or to pro-mote enrollment in the plan by absorbing plan expenses or the RRSP.

Employees who are called in for work at times they were not scheduled to work must be paid a minimum of 3 hours of their normal hourly wage. 

If full time employees work more than the hours set by their agreed upon work arrangement over-time must be paid at 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.

As well, Part-time employees are eligible for overtime for all hours worked in excess of eight hours in a day.

All employees are entitled to regular wages for ten public holidays a year (New Years Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Saskatchewan Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and Christ-mas Day).  Contact Labor Standards regarding the payment formula (It is ~5% of the regular wages earned in the 4 weeks prior to the statutory holiday).  If an employee works the holiday they should receive 1 ½ times the normal rate of pay for hours worked. 

After 1 year of employment with the same employer, each employee is allotted a minimum of 3 weeks holiday time per year.   After 10 weeks of employment with the same employer, it goes up to 4 weeks per year.   Vacation pay is paid out for the 3 or 4 weeks as a percentage of the total wages per year and broken down on each cheque.  (3/52 or 6% of total wages for the first 9 years, 4/52 or 8% of total wages for 10 years or more)

Wage deductions are mandatory for statutory requirements such as: Income tax, CPP, EI, pension plans or union dues. Voluntary deductions agreed upon by a majority of employees can also be made for such items as group insurance plans or other employee benefits.  All deductions must be identified on the employees pay statement.

When an employee was eligible for 4 weeks of holidays. Here is the answer provided by Labour Standards staff: Section 30(1) of the Act states:
30(1) Every employee to whom this Act applies is entitled:
(a) subject to clause (b), to an annual holiday of three weeks after each year of employment with any one employer;
(b) to an annual holiday of four weeks after the completion of ten years of employment with one employer and after the completion of each subsequent year of employment with that employer.
So, it appears that employees become entitled to four weeks vacation at the end of 10 years of employment with the same employer.

Employees do not get wages when on maternity, adoption or parental leaves, however, employees may get employment insurance benefits.  Employees need to contact there nearest Service Canada Office. 

Maternity, or adoption leaves are up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave.  Parental leave is up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave (34 weeks if the employee also takes maternity or adoption leave).  Employees must have worked a minimum of 13 consecutive weeks for their current employer prior to the leave. 

Employees can continue participating in certain company benefit plans while on maternity, adoption or parental leaves.  Your employer may require the employee to pay the contributions required to maintain the benefits.  Benefit plans that an employee can continue contributions to while on leave may include, medical, dental, disability, life insurance, accidental death or dismemberment, registered savings plans and any other pension plans. 

Employees must notify the employer at least 4 weeks before the day they were planning to return back to work.  An employer is not required to allow an employee to return until this notice is given to them. 

Employees should receive the same pay rate or an increase with no loss of pension or similar benefits.  Seniority should continue to increase at the normal rate as if you were still working there during your leave. 

Maternity, adoption or parental leaves should not affect the annual holidays.  Once the employee returns back to work, the employee gets the same annual holidays the employee would have received if the leave had not been taken.  However, annual holiday pay might be lower since it is calculated as a percentage of the previous years earnings. 

Employers cannot cut wages or benefits if a woman needs to modify her job due to the pregnancy while she is still working.  Employers should modify the employee’s duties as much as possible.  If however, the pregnant employee still is unable to do the work required she may have to start her maternity leave as much as 13 weeks early before the due date. 

 To be eligible for these leaves, employees must have been with the current employer for 13 consecutive weeks before the leave. 

Organ donation leave

37 weeks leave

Nomination, candidate for public office

Leave for the term in office

Bereavement leave

Up to 5 days of unpaid leave upon death of a family member in their immediate family 

Compassionate care leave

Up to 8 weeks to provide care or support a member of the employees’ family who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks from the date the leave commences

Critically ill child care leave

Up to 37 weeks to provide support and care to an employees critically ill child

Crime-related child death or disappearance leave

Up to 104 weeks if an employee’s child dies and it is probable that the child died as a result of a crime

Up to 52 weeks if an employees child disappears and it is probable that the child’s disappearance is the result of a crime

** However, the employee is not entitled to a leave if the employee is charged with the crime or party to the crime. 

Citizenship ceremony leave

1 day to attend a citizenship ceremony to receive their certificate of citizenship

Length of Service

Required Notice

Less than 13 weeks of consecutive employment


More than 13 weeks of consecutive employment and up to 1 year

1 week


1 to 3 years

2 weeks

3 to 5 years

4 weeks

5 to 10 years

6 weeks

10 years or more

8 weeks

NOTE:  when terminating 10 or more employees within a 4-week period, group termination rules may apply.

With regards to temporary layoffs, once an employee is off a maximum of 6 consecutive workdays a layoff becomes a termination. 

An employer has the right to include or not include staff members in the sale of a practice.  If the staff is not included with the sale, the employer must give proper notice to the employees and issue a record of employment.  If the staff is included in the sale, the new employer can give notice as to the new hours or work, salary, benefits and can terminate the employment all together according to the notice of termination laws.

Resource Websites


Saskatchewan Dental Assistants’ Association
307-845 Broad St. Regina, SK S4R 8G9
Ph: (306) 252-2769 Fax: (306) 252-2089