HR Best Practices – Week 6

Labour Legislation Compliance:

Don’t let your eyes glaze over so quickly!  Labour legislation compliance is so important.  Employers and employees need to know their rights and responsibilities.  Every employment relationship is governed by the complex, intertwining, and ever-changing set of rules and obligations that make up employment law.

Bear in mind that the Labour Standards Code are the minimum employment rules in Nova Scotia that employers and employees must follow.  You can implement workplace policies that provide staff with greater benefits. In the event of a dispute, the greater benefit prevails. Be sure you are familiar with the Guide to the Labour Code of Nova Scotia and Guide to the Human Rights Act.

Documentation is key.  Paperwork is crucial in so many aspects of farming now.  This is especially true when dealing with human resources, especially if there is ever a dispute and need to prove anything. Back up everything with documents—contracts, payroll records, employee complaints, safety meetings and training, policy communications.  Keep all records for at least six years.

Contracts can improve rights, flexibility, and certainty.  Every employee has a contract.  A written employment agreement is your best tool.  If you do not set the terms, many terms will be “implied”.  Avoid verbal offers and have employees sign off (in their language). Review contracts regularly to ensure they reflect any changes in the law or best practices.

Use caution when paying an employee as a “contractor”.  Here are some pros and cons of both:

Employee Independent Contractor
  • Contract of service
  • Part of the organization/team
  • Set hours
  • Subject to review, oversight & discipline
  • Entitled to protections of employee
  • Contract for servcies
  • In business for themselves
  • No set hours
  • No right to direct, oversee, or review
  • No payroll taxes, or termination pay entitlements
  • Risk: CRA penalties, Labour Code violations

To ensure you and your business are protected, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice on any contracts and agreements.