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Surprise changes to Nova Scotia’s minimum wage and partial hours rules announced

Jennifer Thompson

Nova Scotia’s Premier’s Office has today made an unexpected announcement regarding several changes to be made to Nova Scotia’s minimum wage and partial hours rules, with effect from April 1, 2020.

Additional increase in minimum wage

The announcement included an unexpected increase in the minimum wage, to take effect from April 1, 2020, raising the minimum wage up to $12.55 per hour.  While employers were expecting the minimum wage to rise by $0.55 from $11.55 to $12.10 in April, it will now increase by a further $0.45 per hour. This $1.00 per hour increase represents the largest increase in the Nova Scotia minimum wage in the past ten years and means Nova Scotia will no longer have the lowest minimum wage in the country.

Elimination of the inexperienced minimum wage differential

Currently, employers are able to pay new employees with less than three months relevant experience, $0.50 an hour less than the minimum wage (i.e. $11.05) for up to the first three months of employment.  This will no longer be permitted from April 1, 2020.  The minimum wage for all employees will be $12.55 per hour, irrespective of prior experience.

Changes to the partial hours rules

Under the present Minimum Wage Regulations, the partial hours rule states that when calculating the minimum wage, “a period of 15 minutes and not more than 30 minutes shall be counted as a ½ hour and a period of more than 30 minutes but less than 60 minutes shall be counted as 1 hour”.  This had the effect that where an employee worked for less than 30 minutes this would be paid in 15 minute increments but once over 30 minutes they had to be paid for a full hour.

The announcement confirms that the Regulations will be amended to eliminate the partial hours rule entirely.  Employees will now be paid only for the hours (or minutes) that they have worked.

The full news release can be found here.


This update is intended for general information only. If you have questions about the above, please contact a member of our Labour & Employment group.

 

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