Saskatchewan Overtime Pay: What Employers Need to Know

Payroll Management

One of the tricky aspects of calculating overtime pay in Canada is that the rules differ between each province and territory. And of all the provinces, Saskatchewan overtime pay is one of the trickiest to understand. That’s because Saskatchewan has not one, but two standard workweeks, meaning there’s a number of different scenarios where overtime kicks in.

If you’re already scratching your head in confusion, don’t panic. We’ll cover the ins and outs of Saskatchewan overtime pay so that you can ensure your employees receive proper compensation for their work and you keep your payroll records accurate.

Saskatchewan Overtime Pay Rate

Like most provinces, the Saskatchewan overtime pay rate is 1½ times an employee’s regular rate of pay— also known as “time and a half.” This means that an employee is entitled to 1.5 times his or her regular pay rate for each hour of overtime worked.

In Saskatchewan, employees are entitled to overtime pay for time when an employee is required (scheduled) to work, permitted to work, or required to remain at the disposal of the employer. Time when an employee is “permitted to work” refers to time when the employer knows (or ought to reasonably know) that the employee is working and the employer does not instruct the employee to stop working. Whereas time when an employee is “at the disposal of the employer,” refers to any time that the employee must remain under the direction and control of the employer and be available for work (even if the employee is not actually working). 

While it’s one thing to know understand what constitutes overtime work, it’s also important to understand Saskatchewan’s overtime threshold. In Saskatchewan, employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than eight or ten hours in a day, or more than 40 hours in a week (whichever is greater). A day is any period of 24 consecutive hours, while a workweek as any period of seven consecutive days (as long as the period is consistently used in setting the employee's work schedule).

The reason for Saskatchewan’s unique overtime threshold is that the province has two standard work weeks. Weekly work hours are set at 40, with daily hours set at either eight or 10. This means that if an employee works more than the set hours, they are entitled to overtime pay.

To better understand Saskatchewan’s two standard workweeks, let’s take a look at an example:

8 Hour Days 10 Hour Days
Sunday Sunday
Monday 8 Monday 10
Tuesday 8 Tuesday 10
Wednesday 8 Wednesday 10
Thursday 8 Thursday 10
Friday 8 Friday
Saturday Saturday

Each of these workweeks totals 40 hours a week, even though the number of hours worked each day differs.

Keep in mind that there is a maximum number of hours an employee can work in a day. Even if the employer pays overtime, employers in Saskatchewan cannot schedule their employees to work more than 16 hours in any 24-hour period—unless there is an emergency.

Special Rules and Exceptions

Some occupations and industries in Saskatchewan are exempt from overtime rules. Common exemptions include:

  • Managerial and professional employees
  • Employees primarily engaged in mineral exploration operations north of Township 62
  • Most logging industry employees (though employees working in an office, saw mill, or planing mill do qualify for overtime pay)
  • Employees working for outfitters, fishers, or trappers
  • Motor vehicle salespersons
  • Certain types of traveling salespersons
  • Employees of rural municipalities in connection with road construction or maintenance, or servicing of road repair or maintenance equipment
  • Come-in care providers working in private homes

Beyond exemptions, special overtime rules apply to some employees. Employees with special overtime rules include:

  • Live-in care providers
  • Live-in domestics
  • Ambulance attendants
  • Firefighters on a platoon system
  • Oil truck drivers delivering fuel to farms
  • Commercial hog operation employees
  • Some city newspaper employees
  • Highway construction workers

Calculating Overtime Pay in Saskatchewan

With two standard workweeks, calculating overtime pay in Saskatchewan seems complicated. However, it’s actually fairly simple when you break down the process, which we’ll do below.

In Saskatchewan, the 40-hour workweek revolves around two daily limits:

  • Five, eight-hours days; or
  • Four, 10-hour days.

This means that an employee scheduled to work eight hours in a day will earn overtime after eight hours. Similarly, an employee scheduled to work 10 hours in a day earns overtime after 10 hours. Pretty straightforward, right?

These rules apply even if the employee works less than 40 hours in a week. Moreover, an employer cannot alternate between five, eight-hour days and four, 10-hour days to avoid paying overtime.

Weekly Overtime Pay

To see how these calculations can be made, let’s use the example of Matt, who earns $20.00 per hour and is scheduled to work five eight-hour days.

In one week, Matt works the following hours:

Week #1
Monday 8
Tuesday 8
Wednesday 8
Thursday 8
Friday 8
Saturday 4
Total Hours Worked: 44
Overtime: 4

Even though Matt never worked more than eight hours in a single day, he exceeded the weekly overtime pay threshold of 40 hours per week. Because Matt worked 44 hours in a week, he is owed four hours of overtime pay. His overtime pay can be calculated as follows:

  • Overtime pay rate: $20.00 x 1.5 = $30.00
  • Total overtime pay: $30.00 x 4 hours of overtime = $120

Daily Overtime Pay

Using the same example from above, let’s find out what happens when Matt meets the daily overtime threshold.

In week two, Matt works the following hours:

Week #2
Monday 8
Tuesday 8
Wednesday 8
Thursday 6
Friday 10
Total Hours Worked: 40
Overtime: 2

In this case, Matt did not work more than 40 hours a week, however, he did exceed his daily scheduled limit of eight hours per day. As a result, Matt is owed two hours of overtime, which can be calculated as follows:

  • Overtime pay rate: $20.00 x 1.5 = $30.00
  • Total overtime pay: $30.00 x 2 hours of overtime = $60.00

Overtime Pay With Public Holidays

It’s important to note that if a public holiday occurs during a workweek, the weekly overtime threshold is reduced by eight hours to 32 hours total. This means that employers can schedule employees to work those 32 hours in four eight-hour days or three 10-hour days.

Agreements for Banked Time

Like several other provinces, Saskatchewan allows employees and employers to enter into an agreement to bank an employee’s overtime hours. Basically, this means that an employee’s overtime hours can be banked and used at a later date for time off at regular pay.

In order for a banked agreement to be valid, it must meet the following qualifications:

  • It must be in writing
  • It needs to be agreed to and signed by both employer and employees
  • It must be retained by the employer, with copies provided to each employee covered by the agreement

In Saskatchewan, 1.5 hours must be banked for every hour of overtime that an employee works. Any hours withdrawn from an employee’s overtime bank must be taken during regularly scheduled work hours, and at a time agreed to by both parties. If there is no agreement, the employer can schedule the time off, provided that they give the employee at least one week of notice.

Additionally, all banked time must be taken off within 12 months of the time it was banked. Any banked time that is not taken within the 12 month period must be paid out at the employee’s regular hourly wage. Employees can request payouts of banked time and employers can make payouts without closing the bank.

Any employee who is eligible for overtime can ask for an overtime bank agreement, including part-time employees working fewer than 30 hours per week. However, employers cannot require their employees to enter into an overtime bank agreement.

If an employee or employer wishes to end or change an agreement for banked time, notice must be given in writing at least one pay period in advance. If the agreement has been ended, the employer can require the employee to use some or all of the time in the bank before the agreement ends, or they can choose to pay out the overtime in the bank.

On the other hand, if an employee leaves their position before using their banked time, any remaining banked time must be paid out within 14 days of the employee’s last day of work.

Modified Work Arrangements

Under Section 2-19 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, employers and employees may agree to average hours using a Modified Work Arrangement (MWA). Employers must have the employee’s consent before scheduling the employee to work or to be at the employer's disposal for more than 44 hours in a week. However, MWAs do not require a permit from the Director of Employment Standards.

In short, an MWA is an agreement between the employer and an employee (or group of employees) that allows work time to be compressed in one, two, three, or four week cycles. In exchange, employees get longer periods of time off from work. An MWA may include the following options for averaging periods:

  • 40 hours over one week
  • 80 hours over two weeks
  • 120 hours over three weeks
  • 160 hours over four weeks

For example, let’s say that the averaging period is 80 hours over two weeks with overtime after 12 hours. Now let’s say the employee works the following hours over the course of two weeks:

Week #1 Week #2
Sunday Sunday
Monday 12 Monday 12
Tuesday 12 Tuesday 12
Wednesday 12 Wednesday 10
Thursday 12 Thursday
Friday Friday
Saturday Saturday
Total Hours Worked: 48 Total Hours Worked: 34
Overtime: Overtime: 2

In this case, the employee did not work more than 12 hours in a day, but they did work more than 80 hours over two weeks. Because the employee worked 82 hours over the two weeks, they qualify for two hours of overtime.

To be valid, MWAs must meet the following conditions:

  • Be in writing
  • Be signed by the employer and employee (or group of employees)
  • Specify the number of weeks over which the hours will be averaged
  • Specify the daily hours of work after which an employee is entitled to overtime (employers cannot require employees to work more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period without overtime pay)
  • Specify the work schedule that reflects the daily and weekly hours agreed to
  • Provide for a start date and an expiry date for the MWA (agreements cannot exceed two years in length)
  • Be in place at least one week before any work schedule changes

Once in effect, the MWA is binding unless the employer and employees decide to renegotiate the agreement. In the event that an employee quits or is dismissed, the employee taking over the position is immediately covered by the MWA.

Averaging Agreements

Though most averaging work schedules can be accommodated by an MWA, employers in Saskatchewan can also apply for an Averaging of Hours Permit. This permit allows employers to condense an employee’s work time for shift cycles requiring a longer day or a longer period of averaging than allowed in a Modified Work Arrangement.

In short, an averaging arrangement allows for the averaging of the number of scheduled work during a given period. In this case, an employer must pay overtime after the daily limit or the hours in the averaging period are exceeded. If a public holiday falls within an averaging period, the overtime threshold must be reduced by eight hours.

Despite the complications of two standard workweeks and MWAs, Saskatchewan overtime pay is not quite as scary as it may seem. All you need to do is brush up on the rules and you’ll be able to calculate overtime pay for all of your hard-working employees.

Looking for more assistance with calculating overtime pay? Knit can guide you on: