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Labour Standards Comparison: Canada Vs Saskatchewan

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Saskatchewan Labour Standards

vs. Canadian Federal Labour Standards

Canada is defined as much by its vast geographical expanse as by its exceptionally equitable social safety network. In the workplace, an equitable environment is buttressed by a set of labour standards regulations, refined over centuries, which delineate the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees alike. These regulations seek to foster socially and economically fruitful employer-employee relationships.

Canadian labour standards are regulated at both the federal and provincial levels. Federal employment legislation covers banks, railways, airlines, interprovincial transportation, radio and television broadcasting, and other industries deemed to be federal responsibilities. Any workplace grievances arising in one of the aforementioned industries, is dealt with pursuant to the Canada Labour Code. Additionally, each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories has its own employment legislation which applies to industries and businesses not within the federal jurisdiction. This paper compares the labour standards regulations of Saskatchewan with those covering the Canadian federal jurisdiction, on three topics: annual vacations, maternity and parental leaves, and absences due to illness or injury. The analysis will attempt to reach a conclusion regarding which jurisdiction has more favourable laws to employees.

Annual Vacations

Neither the Labour Standards Act of Saskatchewan, nor the Canada Labour Code of the Canadian federal jurisdiction make distinctions between full-time, part-time, casual, temporary, and seasonal workers; all are entitled to annual vacation pay.

Under both Saskatchewan and Canadian federal jurisdictions, a minimum of one year, or twelve consecutive months, of employment is a prerequisite before an employee is eligible for his or her vacation pay. The difference lies in the length of vacation to which an employee is entitled, under the two jurisdictions. After one year of employment, an employee under the Saskatchewan jurisdiction is entitled to a minimum of three weeks. The Labour Standards Act also rewards an employee's occupational loyalty by increasing this minimum to four weeks, following ten consecutive years of employment under the same employer. On the other hand, the Canada Labour Code allows an employee under federal jurisdiction a minimum of two weeks of vacation, which increases to three weeks after six consecutive years of employment under the same employer.

Some freedom is granted to employees under both jurisdictions, on when they can take their vacations. However, both employees and their employers have to mutually agree on the chosen vacation period. In cases where an agreement is difficult to reach and the employer has final say, a federally regulated employer has to give a minimum two weeks notice before the commencement of the employee's vacation. Similarly, a minimum four weeks notice is required under Saskatchewan legislation.

Vacation pay for employees under the Saskatchewan jurisdiction is approximately six percent of the total wages earned in the previous twelve month period, for the first nine years of employment under the same employer. Thereafter, this increases to approximately eight percent of the total earnings for a given twelve month period. Under federal jurisdiction, the vacation pay is four percent of total annual earnings for the first six years of employment, which increases to six percent for the years thereafter. Normally, both Saskatchewan and federal employees are to receive their vacation pay within fourteen days prior to their vacation.

Maternity and Parental Leaves

Canadian employment legislation recognizes the importance of nurturing new members of a family and goes a significant distance in allowing natural or adoptive parents some time off work, towards this purpose.

Labour standards regulations under both Saskatchewan and federal jurisdictions ensure job security for a pregnant employee or for an employee under maternal or parental leave; these employees are entitled to the same benefits as other employees and are guaranteed their old or comparable jobs and similar compensation upon their return.

To qualify for maternity or parental leave, an employee under the Saskatchewan jurisdiction

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