Northwest Territories

Global Compliance Guide

Labor Requirements

The Labour Law in Northwest Territory is regulated mainly by the Employment Standards Act. The Employment Standards Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, and rest periods, wages, overtime, employment relationships. The other acts that govern employment relationships are Employment Standard Regulations, Worker’s Compensation Act, etc.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The standard working hours are 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. The maximum number of working hours allowed is 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week.

 

Averaging Hours of Work 

Employment Standards Officer may authorize employers to calculate standard and maximum hours per day and week as an average for a period of one or more weeks if the nature of the work requires irregular distribution of an employee’s hours of work. Employment Standards Act, § 7 – 8 and 11.

 

Call-in

When an employee reports working at the call of his or her employer, that was not scheduled in advance, the employer shall pay the employee wages at the employee’s regular rate of pay, for a minimum of 4 hours. This applies whether the employee, after reporting to work, is called on to perform any work. Employment Standard Regulations, § 6. 

 

Recording Requirements

An employer shall maintain in each place of business operated by the employer in the territory, a correct record consisting of employee’s working hours, wages, payroll records, etc of each of his/her employees at or in connection with that place of business for a period of not less than 2 years after each record was made. Employment Standards Act, § 49.

Overtime

An employee is entitled to overtime pay of 1.5 times the regular wage for each hour of work performed in excess of standard hours of work in a day and in a week.

 

Employees may enter into an agreement with the employers, that instead of overtime pay, the employer shall provide for each hour of overtime work performed by an employee time off for one and half hours with pay at regular wage rate. Such time off shall be taken within 3 months of the end of the pay period calculated from the time it was earned unless a longer period has been agreed upon in the agreement. Employment Standards Act, § 9 and 12.

Breaks

An employee is entitled to at least 30 minutes unpaid break after 5 continuous hours of work. The employer is not obligated to pay for this time unless the employee is required to work or stay at the work premises. Employment Standard Regulations, § 13. 

Work On Rest Days

An employer shall ensure that an employee shall have at least – 

      • 1 day of rest in each workweek;
      • 2 consecutive days of rest in each period of 2 consecutive work weeks; or
      • 3 consecutive days of rest in each period of 3 consecutive workweeks.

Employment Standards Act, § 21.

Public Holidays

Employees are entitled to the following 10 public holidays – 

      • New Year’s Day
      • Good Friday
      • Victoria Day
      • National Aboriginal Day
      • Canada Day
      • The first Monday in August
      • Labour Day
      • Thanksgiving Day
      • Remembrance Day
      • Christmas Day

Holiday Pay

The amount of holiday pay must be equal to or greater than:

        • If employee’s wages are calculated on the basis of time, the wages which employee would have received for normal hours of work at a regular rate of wages; or
        • If employee’s wages are calculated on any other basis, an employee shall be entitled to daily wages based on the average of his/her daily wages for the 4 weeks which the employee worked immediately preceding the week in which the public day occurs.

Payment for Working on a Public Holiday

An employee who works on a public holiday shall receive in addition to public holiday pay:

          • Overtime pay equal to 1.5 times the regular rate of wage for the time worked by the employee on that day; or
          • Substitute holiday at some other time, which shall be before the next annual vacation or termination of an employee, whichever occurs first. 

Payment for working on Public Holiday which falls on a non-working day

An employee who works on a public holiday which falls on the non-working day shall be paid double the regular rate of wage for the time worked by the employee on that day.

 

Overtime Calculation during Public Holiday

For the purpose of calculating overtime during a week that contains a public holiday for which an employee is entitled to a holiday with pay:

            • The standard hours in a workday are deemed to be 8 hours;
            • The standard hours of work in that week are deemed to be 32 hours; and
            • The overtime does not include the standard hours worked by an employee on the public holiday.

Exceptions 

An employee is not entitled to be paid holiday pay for a public holiday on which he/she does not work if:

            • The employee has not worked for the employer for a total of at least 30 days during the preceding 12 months period;
            • The employee was required to work that day, but he/she did not report for the work; or
            • The employee without the consent of the employer did not report to work on his/her last regular working day preceding or following the public holiday.

Employment Standards Act, § 22 – 23 and 12.

Annual Leave

An employee is entitled to vacation with vacation pay after each year of employment. The period of annual vacation is equal to – 

      • 2 weeks after each of the first five years of employment with the same employer; and
      • 3 weeks after sixth and subsequent years of employment with the same employer.

Vacation Timing

An employee’s vacation shall begin no later than 6 months immediately following the completion of the year of employment for which the employee became entitled to a vacation.

 

Basis of Employment

For the purpose of calculating the years of employment of an employee, each year of employment for the same employer whether continuous or not during a 10-year period shall be included.

 

Vacation Pay

Vacation pay must be equal to at least – 

        • 4% of the annual wages of the employee for each of the first 5 years of employment with the employer; and
        • 6% of the annual wages of the employee for sixth and subsequent years of employment with the employer.

An employee shall be paid vacation pay at least 1 day before the beginning of the vacation or if applicable at an earlier prescribed time.

 

Vacation Pay upon the Termination of Employment

An employee whose employment terminates before the completion of his/her year of employment, the employer shall pay any vacation pay due to the employee in respect of – 

          • Any prior year completed years of employment; and
          • The completed portion of the current year of his/her employment. 

Employment Standards Act, § 24 – 25.

Minimum Wage

Effective April 1, 2018, the minimum wage is $13.46 per hour.

 

 

 

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

Special Leave

Sick Leave

An employee who is employed for at least 30 days with the employer and is incapable of performing work due to illness or injury is entitled to an unpaid leave of at least 5 days in each 12-month period.

 

In case the duration or expected duration of the sick leave exceeds 3 consecutive days and if requested by the employer, the employee must provide the employer with a medical certificate stating that the employee is incapable of working because of an illness or injury. Employment Standards Act, § 29.

Pregnancy Leave

An employee who is employed for at least 12 consecutive months with the employer before the commencement of pregnancy leave, is entitled to 17 weeks of unpaid leave, which can start at any time during the 17-week period immediately preceding the estimated date of delivery.

 

In cases where the actual date of delivery occurs after the estimated date of delivery, the pregnancy leave can be extended on request made by the employee until the actual date of delivery. Such extension shall not exceed further 6 consecutive weeks. An employee who gives birth to a child without submitting a written request for pregnancy leave 4 weeks prior to the commencement of leave is entitled to 6 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave. Employment Standards Act, § 26 – 27.

Parental Leave

An employee who has been employed for at least 12 consecutive months with the employer before the commencement of parental leave, is entitled to an unpaid leave of 61 consecutive weeks to provide care for the birth of the new-born child, a child recently adopted by the employee, or a child in respect of whom the employee has commenced the adoption proceedings. 

 

The aggregate amount of leave that may be taken by more than one employee with respect to the same birth or adoption shall not exceed 69 weeks.

 

Timing of Leave

Parental leave shall be taken during the period beginning on the day of the birth of the new-born child or on the day on which the child arrives at the employee’s home, in case of adoption, as the case may be and shall end – 

      • 78 weeks after that time, if parental leave is taken by one employee and
      • 86 weeks after that time, if parental leave is taken by more than one employee. 

An otherwise eligible employee is entitled to parental leave of 6 consecutive weeks, without pay, if he or she is unable to submit the request within 4 weeks as required by the employer.

 

If the employee plans to adopt more than one child and they arrive at the employee’s home at substantially the same time, the employee may take the parental leave to which he or she is entitled during the period beginning on the day the first child arrives and ending one year after the day on which the last child arrives. An employee is entitled to only one period of parental leave regardless of the number of newborn or adopted children who are born or arrive at substantially the same time.

 

Maximum Combined Leave

The maximum amount of leave that may be shared by more than one employee for pregnancy leave and parental leave to which the employees are entitled in respect of the same birth shall not exceed 86 weeks. Employment Standards Act, § 28 and 34.

Compassionate Care Leave

An employee who has completed a prescribed period of continuous employment with an employer entitled to 27 weeks of unpaid leave to provide care or support to a family member who has a significant risk of death within 27 weeks of the request of leave.

 

The leave shall begin either on the date when the medical certificate was issued or on the day such leave began in case of non-issuance of the medical certificate. The leave shall end when either of the below occurs first – 

      • On Saturday of the week in which the family member dies; or
      • On Saturday of the 52-week period calculated from the day leave began, expires.

The leave shall be taken in periods of no less than one week’s duration. The aggregate amount of leave that can be taken by more than one employee working for the same employer with respect to the same family member shall not exceed 27 weeks. An employee is not permitted to take compassionate leave before the end of the leave taken under family caregiver leave in respect of the same person. Employment Standards Act, § 30.

Family Caregiver Leave

An employee who has been employed for at least 6 months by an employer and is a family member of a critically ill child or adult is entitled to 37 weeks and 17 weeks of unpaid leave respectively for the purpose of providing support or care to the ill child or adult.

The leave begins on the day when a medical certificate has been issued in respect of the ill child or adult or the day employee took leave and shall end when either of the below occurs first:

      • On Saturday of the week in which the critically ill child or adult dies; or
      • On Saturday of the 52-week period calculated from the day leave began expires.

The aggregate amount of leave that can be taken by more than one employee shall not exceed a period of 37 weeks in the case of a critically ill adult and 17 weeks in the case of a critically ill adult. The leave can be taken in more than one period, but each period of absence shall not be of less than one week’s duration. Employment Standards Act, § 30.1.

Family Violence Leave

An employee who has completed a prescribed period of employment with an employer is entitled to family violence leave if the employee or a child of the employee experiences family violence. An employee is entitled to take in each calendar year: 

      • 10 days of leave, of which 5 days are paid leave and 5 days of unpaid leave; and
      • Up to 15 weeks of unpaid family violence leave.

Note-To is eligible for paid leave, an employee shall be employed by the employer for at least 3 consecutive months and shall be employed for at least 1 consecutive month by the employer to be eligible for unpaid leave.

 

Reason for Entitlement

Family Violence leave is taken for any of the following purposes: 

        • To seek medical attention for the employee or the child of the employee in respect of a physical or psychological injury or disability caused by family violence;
        • To obtain services from a victim services organization for the employee or the child of the employee;
        • To obtain psychological or other professional counseling for the employee or the child of the employee;
        • To relocate temporarily or permanently;
        • To seek legal or law enforcement assistance, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from the family violence;
        • Any other prescribed purposes.

Pay

The paid days of leave to which an employee is eligible shall be remunerated at – 

          • either:
                • the wages which the employee would have received had they not taken the leave;
                • if the employee’s normal workday varies day to day or the employee’s wages for regular hours of work varies from day to day, the daily wages based on the average of the employee’s daily wages for the 4 weeks that the employee worked immediately preceding the start of the paid family violence leave 
          • if some other manner of calculation is prescribed, the amount determined using that manner of calculation.

An employee is not entitled to more than the employee’s regular wage rate for any leave, including if a paid day of leave falls on a day or at a time when overtime pay would be payable by the employer. The leave can be taken in separate periods, but each period of absence shall not be in less than one week’s duration. Employment Standards Act, § 30.2.

Bereavement Leave

An employee is entitled to an unpaid leave of 3 days in case of death of a family member and if the funeral or memorial service will take place in the community in which the employee resides or 7 unpaid days of leave in case, such event will take place outside the community in which the employee resides. Employment Standards Act, § 31.

Court Leave

An employee is entitled to unpaid leave for a duration as may be required to perform the below duties:

      • Answer a summons for selection to serve on a jury;
      • Serve on a jury; or
      • Answer a summons to attend as a witness in a legal proceeding.

Employment Standards Act, § 32

Reservist Leave

An employee who is a member of the reserve force and has been in continuous employment with the same employer for a period of at least 6 months and is required to be absent from the work for the purpose of providing service is entitled to unpaid leave for the period required to perform the service. Employment Standards Act, § 32.1 – 32.2.

Voting Leave

An employee is eligible for 3 consecutive hours paid time off from work for the purpose of voting. An employer does not have an obligation to provide time off of work where the required number of consecutive hours falls outside an employee’s hours of work and within the voting hours.

Last updated on: September 14th, 2020