New Brunswick

Global Compliance Guide

Labor Requirements

New Brunswick’s Employment Standards Act (the Act) and its regulations establish minimum standards for employers and employees in New Brunswick.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

No limit on the number of hours an employee may work during any daily, weekly, or monthly period.

The Governor can prescribe the maximum number of hours an employer may require an employee to work at the minimum wage rate.

 

Where an employee works split shifts, and the total number of hours worked on that day are greater than three hours, the employee is entitled to be paid the employee’s regular wage rate for the hours worked. In this instance, the minimum reporting wage does not apply. Employment Standards Act § 14 and 15.

Overtime

An employee who works in excess of the prescribed maximum hours of work shall be paid by the employer at a rate of one and one-half times the minimum wage rate. Employment Standards Act §15.

Work On Rest Days

An employer shall give to the employee a weekly rest period of at least twenty-four consecutive hours, to be taken, if possible, through Sunday or, if the government authority approves, to be accumulated and taken later, either part at a time or all together. An employer shall not authorize any work to be done on Sunday that is now prohibited by law.

 

This does not apply to – 

      • An employee who, in the opinion of the government authority, is required to cope with an emergency; or
      • An employee who is not usually employed for more than three hours in any one day.

Employment Standards Act § 17

Public Holidays

New Brunswick has the below list of Public Holiday:

      • New Year’s Day,
      • Family Day,
      • Good Friday,
      • Victoria Day
      • Canada Day,
      • New Brunswick Day,
      • Labour Day,
      • Thanksgiving Day
      • Remembrance Day,
      • Christmas Day,
      • Boxing Day, and
      • Any day appointed by any Statute in force in the Province or by Proclamation of the Governor-General or Lieutenant-Governor as a general holiday within the Province. 

Public Holiday on a working day

When a public holiday falls on a working day for an employee, the employer should provide another working day as a public holiday, which should not be later than the next vacation of the employees.

 

Public Holiday on a non-working day

When a public holiday falls on a non-working day, the employer shall-

      • Pay the employee with regular wages for the public holiday; or
      • Provide another working day as a public holiday which should not be later than the next vacation of the employee.

Rate of wages for work on a Public Holiday

When an employee is employed in a hotel, motel, tourist resort, restaurant, tavern or any continuous operation, and the employee is required because of the nature of the operation to work, and works on a public holiday, the employer shall:

        • Pay the employee one and half times his regular rate of wages, along with the regular wages (if the employee is entitled to a holiday with pay); or
        • Pay the employee for each hour worked on a public holiday an amount not less than his regular wages, and
        • Provide to the employee a holiday on his first working day immediately following his next vacation or on a working day agreed upon and pay him his regular wages for that day.

Employee’s pay for a Public Holiday where daily wages vary

If the employee’s wage is variable, then he will be paid an amount equal to his average daily earnings, exclusive of his overtime pay that he would have received by working on any day in the past thirty calendar days.

 

Where an employee works on a public holiday, the hours that the employee works on the public holiday shall not be taken into consideration in calculating any overtime pay to which the employee is entitled to the workweek in which the public holiday occurs.

 

Cessation of employment before the day to be substituted for a Public Holiday

Where the employment of an employee ceases before the day that is substituted, designated, or given for the public holiday, the employer shall pay to his employee, in addition to any other payment to which the employee is entitled upon the ceasing of employment, his regular wages for that day.

 

Exceptions to Public Holiday

The public holiday does not apply to employees who fall in the below categories –

      • An employee who has been in the employment of the current employer for less than ninety days in the past twelve-month calendar period immediately before a public holiday;
      • Failed to report for work without reasonable cause for the regular working day immediately before or after the public holiday;
        could not perform the work on the public holiday as agreed with the employer before;
      • Is employed under an arrangement where the employee elects to work when requested to do so.

Employment Standards Act, § 18-23.

Annual Leave

An employee who has worked for less than eight years with an employer will receive an annual vacation equal to two regular work weeks, or one day for every calendar month during the vacation year, whichever is less not later than four months after the vacation pay year ends.

 

An employee who has worked for equal to or more than eight-year with an employer will receive annual vacation equal to three regular weeks, or one and one-quarter days for each calendar month, whichever is less not later than four months after the vacation pay year ends.

 

Vacation pay year means the period from the first day of July to the last day of June then following. 

 

Payment for Annual Vacation

      • An employee will receive 4% of the employee’s wages for the vacation pay year if the period of employment is less than eight years with an employer.
      • An employee will receive 6% of the employee’s wages for the vacation pay year if the period of employment is equal to or more than eight years with an employer.

Time of Payment 

The employer must inform the date when the vacation is to begin at least one week in advance and the employee should be paid one day before the vacation begins. An employee shall be deemed to have worked on a day of vacation and a public holiday for which the employee was paid. Employment Standards Act, § 24-27, and 44.04.

Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage rate as of April 1, 2020, is $11.70 per hour.

 

Minimum Overtime Wage Rate

The current minimum overtime rate as of April 1, 2020, is $17.55 per hour.

 

 

The minimum wage rate given above is subject to change and may not be up to date. Kindly access the link to get current wage rates.

Special Leave

Maternity Leave

A pregnant employee is entitled to up to seventeen weeks of unpaid leave or a shorter period (as requested by the employee) and must be taken after the start of the thirteenth week and before the expected birth date. The pregnant employee must inform the employer at least four months prior to the date of the delivery or when the pregnancy is confirmed, whichever is later, of the intent to take leave, and the commencement date in the absence of emergency.

 

In the absence of an emergency, the pregnant employee should provide at least two weeks of notice to the employer of the commencement date of the leave. The employer may also allow for the absence of leave before or after the period as mentioned in the first paragraph, in case the employee’s work is materially affected because of the pregnancy.

 

After the expiration of the maternity leave, the employee must be allowed to resume work in the position immediately held before (not the alternative employment) or any other position without a decrease in the pay, or any other benefits. Employment Standards Act § 42-44. 

Child Care Leave

An employee is entitled to up to sixty-two consecutive weeks or a shorter period of unpaid leave as may be requested by the employee if the employee:

      • is a natural parent of a new-born or an unborn child, or
      • has adopted or is adopting a child.

An employee intending to take leave must provide the employer with a certificate of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, or midwife specifying the date upon which delivery will, in the medical practitioner’s, nurse practitioner’s or midwife’s opinion, occur or the date upon which the birth has occurred. An employee in the absence of an emergency is required to give four weeks written notice to the employer of the commencement date and duration of the leave.

 

The leave of absence will begin on the date which the new-born or adopted child came into the employee’s care and custody and will end Seventy-eight weeks after that date. If both parents are employees, the leave of absence granted may be taken wholly by one of the employees or be shared by the employees.

 

The aggregate amount of leave that may be taken by two employees under this section with respect to the same birth or adoption shall not exceed sixty-two weeks. The aggregate amount of leave that may be taken by one or two employees under this law and for maternity with respect to the same birth shall not exceed seventy-eight weeks. Employment Standards Act § 44.02.

Sick Leave

An employee is eligible for up to five days of unpaid sick leave in a twelve months calendar year. The employee requesting sick leave for a period of four days in length should provide the medical certificate from a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, or midwife certifying that the employee is incapable of working due to illness or injury. The employee must inform the employer of the anticipated duration of the leave. Employment Standards Act § 44.021.

Family Responsibility Leave

An employee is entitled to three days of unpaid leave in twelve calendar months period to meet responsibilities related to the health, care, or education of a person in a close family relationship with the employee. The employee must inform the employer of the anticipated date and duration of the leave. Employment Standards Act § 44.022. 

Court Leave

An employee is entitled to leave without pay for any period as a result of being –

      • Summoned to serve on a jury,
      • Selected to serve on a jury, or
      • Served with a summons to attend at the hearing of the action, application, or proceeding as a witness.

If the employer provides leave with pay in the above circumstances, then the employer may require the employee to reimburse for any amount that the employee received as a jury or witness fees and this will not include the compensation received by the employee for food, travel, or accommodation purposes. Employment Standards Act § 44.023.

Compassionate Care Leave

An employee is entitled to twenty-eight weeks of unpaid leave to provide care or support to a person with whom the employee has a close family relationship if a qualified medical practitioner issues a certificate stating that the person with whom the employee has a close family relationship has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within twenty-eight weeks.

 

The leave begins from the first day of the week either when the certificate was issued or when the leave was commenced in case of non-issuance of the certificate. The leave end date will end on the last day of the week in which the earlier of the below occurs: –

      • The related person dies;
      • The expiration of the twenty-eight weeks from the date leave began.
      • The leave may only be taken in a period of at least a one-week duration.

The aggregate amount of leave that two employees can take for the care of the same person should not increase the twenty-eight-week period. The employee must provide the employer with the certificate within fifteen days after return to work. Employment Standards Act § 44.024.

Critically Ill Child Leave

An employee is entitled to thirty-seven weeks of unpaid leave to provide care or support to a child if the certified medical practitioner

states that the child is a critically ill child and requires the care or support of one or more of his or her parents or other family members, and sets out the period during which the child requires that care or support. The start date of the absence of leave begins on:

      • The first day of the week when the certificate was issued; or
      • The first day of the week when the medical practitioner certifies that the child is a critically ill child.

The end date of the leave is decided based on the below, whichever occurs first:

        • The child dies; or
        • The expiration of the thirty-seven-week period starting from the first day of the week as stated above.

The aggregate amount of leave shall not exceed a thirty-seven-week period in case both the parents or other family members are the employees of the same employer. Also, this leave period can be availed either by one wholly or can be shared. In the case of uncontrollable circumstances, the employee must inform the employer in writing for the change in the period.

 

The employer is not required to extend the leave beyond the date that would exceed the thirty-seven-week period. After the expiration of the leave, the employer should permit the employee to work at the same or equivalent position without any decrease in pay or any other benefits. Employment Standard Act § 44.025.

Critically Ill Adult Leave

An employee is entitled to sixteen weeks of unpaid leave to provide care or support to a critically ill adult if the certified medical practitioner states that the adult is a critically ill adult and requires the care or support of one or more of his or her parents or other family members, and sets out the period during which the adult requires that care or support. The start date of the absence of leave begins on:

      • The first day of the week when the certificate was issued; or
      • The first day of the week when the medical practitioner certifies that the adult is a critically ill adult.

The end date of the leave is decided based on the below, whichever occurs first:

        • The adult dies; or
        • The expiration of the sixteen-week period starting from the first day of the week as stated above.

The aggregate amount of leave shall not exceed the sixteen-week period in case both the parents or other family members are the employees of the same employer. Also, this leave period can be availed either by one wholly or can be shared. In the case of uncontrollable circumstances, the employee must inform the employer in writing for the change in the period.

 

The employer is not required to extend the leave beyond the date that would exceed the sixteen-week period. After the expiration of the leave, the employer should permit the employee to work at the same or equivalent position without any decrease in pay or any other benefits. Employment Standards Act § 44.0251.

Death or Disappearance Leave

An employee is entitled to thirty-seven weeks of unpaid leave in case of death or disappearance of the child as a result of a crime.

The leave begins on the date on which it is discovered that the child has died or has disappeared as a result of crime and will end after thirty-seven weeks from the date on which such discovery was made. If within thirty-seven weeks of disappearance, the child has been found alive, then the leave ends after fourteen days of such discovery and in case found dead, the leave period will end after thirty-seven weeks of such discovery.

 

In case the disappearance or the death of the child is not as a result of the crime, the employees are eligible to fourteen days unpaid leave unless there is an agreement between the employer and employee on an earlier date of return. If both the employees are employed under the same employer, each one is eligible for the leave, and in case any of them is charged as a criminal, then the leave cannot be availed by that parent. In the case of uncontrollable circumstances, the employee must inform the employer in writing for the change in the period.

 

The employee is not required to grant leave beyond the date of expiry of the thirty-seven-week period. The employees must be permitted to resume work without any decrease or reduction in benefits as held by them before the leave was granted. Employment Standards Act § 44.026.

Domestic Violence Leave, Intimate Partner Violence Leave or Sexual Violence Leave

An employer shall grant the employee, who has been in the continuous employment for more than ninety days, domestic violence leaves, an intimate partner violence leave or sexual violence leave on the request of an employee, The total number of leaves an employee can take, in each calendar year, shall not exceed the below:

      • Up to ten days, which the employee may take intermittently or in one continuous period, and
      • Up to sixteen weeks in one continuous period.

How to leave of Absence to be Paid

If an employee is granted leave, then the employee is entitled to take the first five days as paid leave and the balance as unpaid leave. An employee should be paid for the paid leave, an amount equal to the wages an employee would have earned if the employee had worked the regular hours of the work for the applicable period.

If the employee’s wages vary from day to day, then the employee should be paid an amount at least equal to employee’s average daily earnings exclusive of the overtime worked during the thirty calendar days immediately before the applicable period. Employment Standards Act § 44.027.

Emergency Leave

Effective April 17, 2020, as per an amendment to §44.028, an employer must grant an employee a leave of absence during the current state of emergency and any future states of emergency or threats to public health. The government may make regulations regarding matters such as:

      • The eligibility requirements for emergency leaves,
      • The purposes for which the leave may be taken, and
      • Whether the leave may be taken as paid or unpaid.

An employer shall grant an employee a leave of absence in any of the following circumstances: 

        • When the Minister of Public Safety declares a state of emergency under the Emergency Measures Act in respect to all or any area of the Province;
        • When the Governor in Council declares a public welfare emergency, a public order emergency, an international emergency or a war emergency under the Emergencies Act (Canada);
        • When the Governor in Council makes an order under section 58 of the Quarantine Act (Canada) in any circumstance relating to a notifiable disease prescribed by regulation under the Public Health Act or declared to be a notifiable disease in an order of the Minister of Health or the chief medical officer of health, as the case may be, a notifiable event prescribed by regulation under the Public Health Act, or any other threat to public health.

Employment Standards Act § 44.028.

Bereavement Leave

An employee is entitled to leave up to five consecutive calendar days on the death of the person in a close family relationship.

The leave must be taken during the period of bereavement which begins on the day of the funeral. Employment Standards Act § 44.03.

Leave for Reservist

An employee is entitled to eighteen weeks of unpaid leave for the purpose of service, if:

      • In the case of first leave, the employee has been in the employ of the employer for at least 6 months;
      • In the case of second or subsequent leave, at least twelve months have elapsed since the date the employee returned to work from the most recent leave granted by the employer for the purpose of service.

If the employee is a reservist, then the employer can provide thirty days’ leave for the purpose of annual training. An employee must provide notice to the employer of his intention to take leave in the below manner:

      • At least four weeks before the commencement date of the leave, or
      • Under uncontrollable circumstances, the employer can extend the leave which should not go beyond the eighteen week period. 

Employment Standards Act § 44.031.

Last updated on: August 31st, 2020