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Olivia Cicchini, Employment Law Expert
(Last updated )
Olivia Cicchini, Employment Law Expert
(Last updated )
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The Saskatchewan Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety plays a crucial role in protecting workers and employers in the province. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees, and the Ministry helps ensure that employers comply with the provincial labour laws and regulations. This article serves as a guide for employers in Saskatchewan, outlining the role of the Ministry and the responsibilities of employers under the province’s labour laws.
The Saskatchewan Employment Act sets out the minimum requirements for employers and employees in the province. These standards cover a range of topics, including minimum wage, hours of work, overtime pay, vacation time and pay, and public holidays, among others. Employers must comply with these standards to ensure fair treatment of their employees.
Critical minimum employment entitlements that Saskatchewan employees must receive from employers include paying at least the provincial minimum wage, providing minimum vacation time and vacation pay entitlements, ensuring employees are not employed beyond the legal hours of work threshold, and respecting job-protected leaves of absence. Employers must also provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace, and comply with all occupational health and safety regulations.
Employees in Saskatchewan have the right to be paid the provincial minimum wage, receive overtime pay, and receive vacation pay and vacation time. Moreover, employees that meet the eligibility requirements are entitled to job-protected leaves of absence (e.g., maternity, parental, bereavement, interpersonal violence leave). They also have the right to refuse work that is unsafe or presents a danger to their health. Employees affected by an employer’s failure to comply with employment standards legislation or occupational health and safety regulations have a right to file complaints with the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.
The Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety in Saskatchewan ensures compliance with the Employment Act through a variety of means. One key strategy is conducting inspections of workplaces to ensure that employers are meeting their obligations under the Act. During an inspection, an Employment Standards Officer will visit the workplace to review employment records, interview employees, and examine the workplace for any potential hazards or violations. If violations are found, the Officer may issue orders to the employer to correct the issues and may take enforcement action if the orders are not followed.
The Ministry, through its Employment Standards Branch, responds to complaints from employees who feel that their rights under the Employment Act have been violated. These complaints may be filed directly with the Employment Standards Branch, and an Employment Standards Officer will investigate the claim and take enforcement action against the employer if a violation is found.
Another way that the Ministry ensures compliance is through education and outreach. The Ministry provides training and education programs for employers and employees to help them understand their rights and obligations under the Employment Act. The Ministry also provides information and resources on its website to help employers and employees understand their rights and obligations under the law.
The Ministry also works closely with other government agencies and industry associations to promote compliance with Saskatchewan’s Employment Act. For example, the Ministry may collaborate with industry associations to develop best practices for compliance with the law or work with other government agencies to coordinate enforcement efforts and share information about employers who are not complying with the law.
Employees who feel that their rights under the Saskatchewan Employment Standards have been violated may file a claim with the Ministry’s Employment Standards Branch. An Employment Standards Officer designated by the Ministry will investigate the claim and may take enforcement action against the employer if a violation is found.
During an inspection, the Employment Standards Officer will visit the workplace to ensure that the employer is complying with the Saskatchewan Employment Standards. The inspector will request and review employment records from the employer, interview employees, and examine the workplace for any potential hazards or health and safety violations. If violations are found, the inspector may issue orders to the employer to correct the issues and may take enforcement action if the orders are not followed.
If an employer is found to be in violation of the Saskatchewan Employment Act or health and safety regulations, the Employment Standards Branch may take enforcement action against them. This may include issuing orders to the employer to correct the issues, imposing fines or penalties, or pursuing legal action against the employer in court.
The Ministry may also prosecute employers for violating the law. In cases where an employer is charged with a violation, they may be required to appear in court and may face fines or other penalties if they are found guilty.
Employees who believe that their employer has violated the Saskatchewan Employment Act may file a claim with the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. The employee must provide details about the alleged violation and submit the claim in writing. The Ministry will then investigate the claim and take appropriate enforcement action if a violation is found.
There are certain circumstances in which an employee may not be able to file a claim with the Employment Standards Branch. For example, if the employee has already filed a complaint in a civil court or small claims court, then they may not be able to file a claim with the Ministry. Additionally, if the claim is filed 12 months after the date on which the complainant knew or ought to have reasonably known about the violation, the claim may be disregarded for falling outside the limitation period.
The Ministry is responsible for enforcing health and safety laws in Saskatchewan, including conducting inspections of workplaces to ensure that employers are providing a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. Occupational Health Officers (OHO) may also investigate accidents and injuries in the workplace to determine if any health and safety violations occurred.
Occupational Health Officers (OHOs) may conduct an inspection at any reasonable time on a variety of grounds. These may include:
During a proactive health and safety inspection, the OHO may ask questions, require a demonstration of the use of certain machinery or equipment, require the production of company documents (e.g., training of workers records, health and safety policies and procedures), or require the help of workers to produce electronically stored information necessary for their health and safety inspection. The OHO will then provide the employer with a report outlining any violations found and may issue orders to the employer to correct the issues.
In addition to conducting inspections and issuing orders, inspectors from the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety may also:
Employers who disagree with an inspection order or penalty may file an appeal to the Occupational Health and Safety Director. The appeal must be filed in writing within 15 business days from the date the decision was received. The Director will then review the appeal and may hold a hearing to consider the matter.
In Saskatchewan, employers are required to have workplace insurance to cover their employees in the event of a workplace injury or illness. The insurance is provided by the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), which is a government agency that administers the workplace insurance program. Employers are required to pay premiums to the WCB, and in exchange, the WCB provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work.
Employers are required to report workplace injuries or illnesses to the WCB as soon as possible by filing an E1 form. This can be done online through the WCB’s website or by email, mail, or fax. The form must include personal information from the injured worker, company contact information, details of the injury, records of the worker’s earnings, and the worker’s recent employment history.
Employers are required to report workplace injuries or illnesses to the WCB within five days of the incident. Failure to comply with this deadline may warrant a fine of up to $1000 and/or an additional $10,000 administrative penalty for the employer.
If an employer refuses to report a workplace injury or illness, the employee can file a report with the WCB directly. The employee should provide as much information as possible about the incident and their injuries, including any witnesses to the incident.
Employers and employees have the right to appeal decisions made by the WCB. This may include decisions about the employee’s eligibility for benefits, the amount of benefits to be paid, or the employer’s premium rate. Employers should note that appeals on a claim decision are not subjected to time limits. However, it is best practice to submit an appeal as soon as possible.
Employers who receive a complaint from an employee about a violation to the Employment Act or health and safety laws should consider it seriously and investigate the matter promptly. The employer should communicate with the employee to gather more information about the alleged violation and take appropriate steps to address the issue.
If you’re unable to resolve the issue to the employee’s satisfaction, the employee may file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch. You should cooperate with the Ministry’s investigation and provide any information requested. If a violation is found, you should take steps to correct the issue and ensure that it does not happen again in the future.
Saskatchewan’s Employment Standards department is responsible for enforcing compliance with provincial labour laws and promoting workplace health and safety in the province. Employers should be aware of their obligations under these laws and work to ensure compliance to avoid penalties and legal action. By promoting a safe and fair working environment, employers can create a positive workplace culture that benefits both workers and the business.
If you need assistance staying compliant with Saskatchewan’s Employment Standards, Peninsula’s services allow you to receive quality advice on any employment issues you may have. Contact us at 1 (833) 247-3652 to speak with one of our experts today.
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