Thursday, January 8, 2015

Update on Overtime Pay for Saskatchewan Retail Workers by Greg

Following up on this post, Saskatchewan's provincial government has reversed its new "interpretation" of overtime rules governing retail employees. But that doesn't look to be the end of the story.

Below is the e-mail showing the instructions given to the staff of the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety:

2015-01-07 Carr e-mail by GFingas


Of note, the Ministry appears to have been using the new interpretation eliminating overtime for retail work beyond 8 hours in any 24-hour period unless that period coincided with a calendar day as only the start of a "gradual phase-in". The eventual intention looks to have been to restrict the availability of overtime for all Saskatchewan workers - and it's not clear that such a change will be subject to any more transparency if applied more broadly. (In that respect, it doesn't appear that anybody other than the Ministry's staff and the Retail Council of Canada were informed of the above change at the time of implementation.)

Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the supposed pursuit of flexibility in the policy change runs in only one direction: while the elimination of overtime pay would offer employers more "flexibility" in requiring employees to work more for less pay, nothing in the Saskatchewan Employment Act or the new interpretation would offer any new flexibility for employees to decline that type of work or otherwise manage their schedule.

This blog consists of general legal information only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice to any person or organization. Please contact me at if you require legal advice related to labour, employment or privacy issues.

Update: Here's the followup instruction to Ministry employees about the end of the "pilot interpretation". I'm awaiting confirmation as to whether that interpretation was, or will be, applied to any actual employment standards complaints.

2015-01-09 Carr e-mail by GFingas