In Nova Scotia, industries, such as gas, oil, and fisheries are a major part of the economy. However, these industries often have different rules when it comes to overtime, which means you have to pay close attention when calculating overtime pay in Nova Scotia, compared to overtime in other Canadian provinces.
Whether you’re new to the world of overtime pay Nova Scotia or you simply need a refresher, that’s where this guide comes in. From overtime pay rates, to special rules, and even averaging agreements, we’ll cover everything you need to know about calculating overtime pay in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia Overtime Pay Rate
In Nova Scotia, eligible employees are entitled to 1½ times their regular rate of pay for every hour of overtime worked.
What makes Nova Scotia’s overtime rules a bit unique is that the province has a relatively high weekly overtime threshold and no daily overtime threshold. Unlike other provinces, which require overtime pay after 40 or 44 hours worked in a week, Nova Scotia’s overtime threshold is 48 hours. This means that employees are entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked in excess of 48 hours in a week. In Nova Scotia, a week is defined as any consistent seven day period.
Because Nova Scotia does not have a daily overtime rate, overtime pay generally does not apply to part-time employees. This means that if even an employee who is scheduled to work 30 hours per week ends up working 35 hours, the employer is not required to pay overtime until the employee has worked more than 48 hours in a week.
Special Rules and Exceptions
While Nova Scotia’s overtime rules apply to most employees, certain industries are characterized by irregular working hours and conditions. These industries and professions may be exempt from overtime rules or subject to special rules.
The industries exempt from Nova Scotia’s overtime rules include:
- Most farm employees
- Employees working on fishing boats
- Employees in the logging and forest industry
- Apprentices employed under the terms of an apprenticeship agreement under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act
- Anyone receiving training under government-sponsored/government-approved plans
- Anyone employed at a non-profit playground or summer camp
- Real estate agents and car salespeople
- Insurance agents licensed under the Insurance Act
- Commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer's premises, but not those on established routes
- Employees who perform domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home
- Employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week
- Live-in health care and live-in personal care providers
- janitors and building superintendents in buildings that include their residence
- Athletes (while engaged in activities related to their athletic endeavour)
- Employees who work under a collective agreement
Though not exempt from minimum wage, some industries are governed by special overtime rules, including managers and supervisors. In Nova Scotia, the following employees are entitled to 1½ times the minimum wage (not their regular rate of pay) for every hour of overtime worked after working more than 48 hours in a week:
- Oil and gas employees
- Managers, supervisors, and those employed in a confidential capacity
- Transport employees (this group can average over 96 hours in two weeks)
- Primary fish and agricultural processors (but not meat)
- Flat-rate auto mechanics/auto body technicians
- Shipbuilders and related employees (but not those in retail)
- IT professionals (but not employees who provide basic operational/technical support)
- Some types of professionals and their trainees
Another group of employees with special overtime rules is those who qualify for 1½ times the minimum wage (not their regular rate of pay) for every hour of overtime worked after working more than 110 hours in a two week period. The employees who fall into this category include:
- Employees constructing, restoring or maintaining roads, streets, sidewalks, structures, or bridges
- Employees doing any type of paving
- Water and sewer installers
- Landscapers and snow removal employees
- Saw mill employees
- Metal fabricators and machine shop employees
The one exception to the above category is municipal employees doing street construction, restoration, or maintenance work. These employees are entitled to 1½ times their regular rate of pay for every hour of overtime worked after working more than 48 hours in a week. However, if these employees are unionized, the collective agreement applies instead.
Calculating Overtime Pay in Nova Scotia
Because Nova Scotia has no daily overtime threshold, calculating overtime pay is relatively straightforward. Below, we’ll go over a few examples of how to calculate overtime pay in Nova Scotia.
Calculating overtime pay for hourly employees in Nova Scotia is quick and easy. To illustrate this, we’ll use the example of Rachel, who is a store manager earning $22.00 per hour.
In one week, Rachel worked 54 hours. Since the overtime threshold is 48 hours, Rachel is entitled to six hours of overtime pay. Since her overtime rate is 1½ times her regular hourly pay, Rachel should receive $33 per overtime hour worked ($22.00 x 1.5 = $33.00).
Rachel’s weekly pay should be calculated as follows:
- Regular pay: 48 hours x $22.00 = $1,056
- Overtime pay: 6 hours x $33.00 = $198
- Rachel’s total pay: $1,056 + $198 = $1,254
To calculate the hourly overtime rate for employees in Nova Scotia, divide the employee's salary (per week) by the employee's regular set hours worked per week. If there are no set hours, the number of hours should be a fair representation of a normal workweek. Once you have the employee’s regular hourly rate, you can calculate overtime by multiplying the hourly wage by the number of overtime hours worked (over 48 hours per week).
To calculate overtime pay for a salaried employee in Nova Scotia, we’ll use the example of Amir, who works in marketing operations earning $975.00 per week. Amir’s set hours are 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday.
One week, Amir works 50 hours, which means he is owed two hours of overtime pay (50 - 48 = 2). His overtime pay can be calculated as follows:
- Regular pay: $975 / 40 hours per week = $24.38 per hour
- Overtime pay: $24.38 x 1.5 = $36.57 per hour
- Total overtime pay: $36.57 x 2 hours of overtime = $73.14
- Amir’s total pay is her regular pay plus his total overtime pay: $975.00 + $73.14 = $1,048.14
Fixed Cycle Averaging Agreements
In Nova Scotia, employees and employers can agree to enter into a fixed cycle averaging agreement. This type of agreement means that an employer can average an employee’s hours of work over a predetermined number of weeks. This must be a fixed cycle of work that repeats over a specific period of time and provides for extended time off. In this type of agreement, an employer is required to pay overtime if the number of hours worked during the averaging period is exceeded.
Averaging agreements give employees and employers more flexibility because they allow employees to work extra hours in a day or extra days in a week in exchange for time off. This type of arrangement is especially common in the healthcare sector where employees may work six days on and then have four days off.
In order to implement an averaging agreement, the employer must demonstrate that there a greater benefit in the form of an extended period of time off. If not, the employer is in violation of the province’s Labour Standards Code. A greater benefit can be determined by comparing the minimum benefit provided in the Labour Standards Code and the benefit provided by the employer.
Though averaging agreements do not have to be filed with Labour Standards, they must meet the following conditions to be considered valid:
- Be in writing, and be signed by both the employer and employee before the start date
- Specify that the employee receives an extended period of time off and the amount of time that the employee will receive (the extended time off must exceed the norm)
- Outline a predetermined, fixed cycle that repeats over a specified period of time
- Specify the number of hours in each week, weeks in the cycle, and the number of times the cycle is repeated
- Schedules must be posted in advance.
- If the hours scheduled average more than 48 per week over the period of the agreement then overtime is payable at 1 ½ the regular rate of pay (unless special rule applies to this group of employees)
- The employee must receive a copy of the agreement before the state date for the agreement
- The employee must be given proper notice of any changes to the terms and conditions of employment
- The onus is on the employer to prove that the pre-determined, fixed cycle is a greater benefit to an employee than overtime
Unlike some other provinces, Nova Scotia overtime pay is easy for most employers to understand and calculate. The trick is knowing all the exceptions and special overtime rules in place to make sure you’re calculating the right amount of overtime pay for each of your employees.
Want to learn more? Here’s how overtime differs in neighbouring provinces: