Are You Covered by Federal or Provincial Legislation?
If your company falls into one of the following sectors, you are most likely to be a federally regulated employer:
- Chartered banks
- Marine shipping, ferry and port services
- Transportation across provincial borders
- Telephone, telegraph, and cable systems
- Radio and television broadcasting
- Uranium mining and processing
- Businesses dealing with protection of fisheries as a natural resource
- First Nation activities
All other employers are provincially regulated.
For more information on Provincial and Federal Legislation visit the PEI HR Toolkit by clicking here.
Employment Standards Act
- What is the minimum wage?
Information about the history & current minimum wage can be obtained by clicking here.
- What are the statutory holidays?
New Year’s Day, Islander Day (3rd Monday in February), Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day
- How does an employee qualify to be paid for a statutory holiday?
An employee must be working with the company for 30 calendar days prior to the holiday, earn wages on 15 of the 30 days prior to the holiday and work his/her last scheduled shift before the holiday and first scheduled shift after the holiday. All three criteria must be met in order to qualify.
- How much vacation does an employee earn?
Vacation pay is paid at the rate of 4% of your gross earnings. After one year’s continuous service with a company, the employee is entitled to two week’s vacation.
- If an employee leaves a position, does he/she still receive vacation pay?
Yes, if an employee leaves a position voluntarily or involuntarily, he/she still receives any vacation pay owing based on 4% of gross earnings.
- How much notice must an employee give to leave a position?
The first six months of employment is considered probationary and the employee may leave at any time without notice. If he/she is employed with a company between six months and five years, one week’s notice in writing is required. If he/she is employed with a company more than five years, two weeks’ notice in writing is required.
- How much notice must a company give to terminate employment?
The first six months of employment is considered probationary and the company may terminate employment at any time without notice. If the employee is employed with a company between six months and five years, two weeks’ notice or pay in lieu of notice is required unless terminated for just cause. If the employee is employed with a company between five years and ten years, four weeks’ notice or pay in lieu of notice is required unless terminated for just cause. If the employee is employed with a company between ten and fifteen years, six weeks’ notice or pay in lieu of notice is required unless terminated for just cause. If the employee is employed with a company for more than fifteen years, eight weeks’ notice or pay in lieu of notice is required unless terminated for just cause.
- If an employee leaves a position voluntarily or involuntarily, should he/she receive severance pay?
There are no legislative provisions for severance pay. (This does not refer to terminating an employee without just cause; notice or pay in lieu will apply and differs based on years of service.)
- Is an employee entitled to sick days?
After six months continuous service with a company, an employee is entitled to three days unpaid sick leave per year. If the three days are taken consecutively, upon request, the employee must provide a medical certificate from a doctor.
- What breaks are employees entitled to?
An employee is entitled to one 30 minute unpaid break for every five hours worked. “Coffee breaks” or “smoke breaks” are not provided for under the Employment Standards Act.
- When is an employee eligible for overtime?
In most positions, the standard work week is 48 hours after which the employee is eligible for time and one-half the regular rate of pay. Certain industries have exemptions to the standard work week. Please refer to the Standard Work Week Exemption Order.
- When must the employer provide a final cheque and record of employment?
The employer must provide payment for all outstanding wages and benefits not later than the last day of the next pay period after termination of employment. Records of Employment are not covered under the Employment Standards Act as they are the responsibility of Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).
- Are all employers required to provide compassionate leave?
Yes, if the employee meets all conditions outlined in the PEI Employment Standards Act.
- What deductions are employers allowed to take from my earnings?
Information regarding deductions can be found at the following site PEI Employment Standards Act.
- How much do you have to pay an employee if you call them in but only need them for one hour? Guide to Employment Standards is available online.
The minimum an employer pays for a call-in is three hours of wages. If you only need them for one hour, consider putting off the task for another regular shift or get the employee to do other tasks to fill three hours. Cleaning shelves, organizing stock or working on client databases are all jobs that can be done anytime.
- Is it okay for employees to work more than 48 hours per week without paying overtime if they are asking for the hours and said they don’t need to be paid extra?
Unfortunately no. Everyone is subject to the Employment Standards Act. Even in situations where employees agree to work without overtime pay, the arrangement is invalid and overtime pay must be paid.
* The only exception is when a collective agreement, registered with the Labour Board, supersedes that particular issue in the Act as a result of union or certified bargaining unit negotiating it out, generally being substituted with other more generous offerings.
- Can I use a Social Insurance Number as an employee number?
Although employers commonly used SINs in the past for payroll or employee numbers, it is not an advisable practice. There is no legislation against it, however SINs are not to be used for purposes other than those related to taxation purposes. Details can be found in the Fact Sheet provided by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
- Do I need to pay out a bonus if an employee is being terminated due to poor performance?
• There was a written or verbal agreement indicating a bonus;
• The bonus is calculated on sales performance, or similar measurement, and the sales are meeting the requirements; or
• There is an expectation of receiving the bonus based on previous years’ practice.
• Nothing was written, verbally agreed upon or could reasonably be expected based on past practices;
• The bonus was based on sales and the sales numbers were not meeting the previously determined requirements; or
• The bonus is stated as being based on individual performance and the individual’s performance is below acceptable standards.
• There are many grey areas for which an employer should seek advice by contacting the Employment Standards Branch, an expert in the area of labour law or network with Human Resources Professionals who have knowledge in this area.
• When setting up a bonus system it is best to clearly outline the intention of the bonus, define the measurements used, indicate the time period it applies to, and explain how employees can achieve the requirements. Once these items are clearly identified and communicated they should be signed off on by the employee and employer and filed for future reference. Bonuses can be extremely effective motivators; however they can also become complicated and onerous so it is best to plan them out thoroughly before implementing.
• You may also want to check Employment Standards website by clicking here.
Human Rights Act
An employer must recruit and hire an individual based on his or her qualifications and not whether they identify as or are associated with any of the protected grounds or characteristics covered under the PEI Human Rights Act. If an employer asks or implies inappropriate and discriminatory questions at the pre employment stage, the employer is open to a complaint under the PEI Human Rights Act.
The following are guidelines indicating the types of questions which may or may not be asked during the employment recruitment and post-employment pursuant to the PEI Human Rights Act:
- Race or Colour
- Ethnic or National Origin
- Sex or Gender Identity
- Creed or Religion
- Criminal Conviction
- Family or Martial Status
- Physical or Intellectual Disability (including addiction and drug and alcohol testing.
- Political Belief
- Sexual Orientation
- Source of Income
Click here to view the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission’s Guide to Human Rights Acts for Employers and Employees.
To view the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission “PEI Human Rights Act” click here.
Workers Compensation Act
Every employer on PEI is legally responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment for its staff and volunteers. This is governed by the Worker’s Compensation Act.
Click here to view the Worker’s Compensation Act.
The Workers Compensation Board is responsible for administering legislation related to workers compensation and workplace safety on PEI.