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Termination of Employment

Notice Periods
Termination Without Notice
Termination and Pay
Group Termination


Notice Periods

Does notice of termination of employment have to be given in writing?

Yes, the notice of termination has to be in writing if an employee has been employed for 3 months or more.

(section 52.(1) of the Labour Standards Act)

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What is the period of written notice that has to be given by the employer and the employee?

The amount of notice to be given by either the employer or employee is based on continued years of service:

Period of employment Amount of advance written notice required
Less than 3 months none
Between 3 months and 2 years 1 week
Between 2 and 5 years 2 weeks
Between 5 and 10 years 3 weeks
Between 10 and 15 years 4 weeks
15 or more years 6 weeks

(section 55.1(1) of the Labour Standards Act)

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May the vacation period form part of the notice period?

Unless both parties agree, the employer shall not require, nor shall the employee take vacation as the notice period.

(section 12.(1) of the Labour Standards Act)

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Is notice of termination required in the construction industry?

No, employers and employees in construction industry are not required to give notice of termination.

(section 12 of the Labour Standards Regulations)

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Does notice have to be given if the employer is only temporarily laying off an employee?

Yes, the same amounts of advance written notice are required for termination of employment and must be provided for any temporary layoff exceeding 1 week.

(section 52.(2) of the Labour Standards Act)

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Does the notice of termination provisions of the Labour Standards Act apply to collective agreements and written contracts of service?

Yes, but only if the collective agreement or the written contract of service is silent on notice, or if the period in the agreement or contract that is required to be given is not the same for the employer and employee.

(section 51. of the Labour Standards Act)

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Termination Without Notice

Can an employee quit without giving the required notice?

There are circumstances when an employee can quit without giving notice but before an employee takes action, they should contact the Labour Standards Division. Some examples of circumstances that would justify an employee terminating employment without notice are:

  • If the employer has
    • mistreated the employee
    • acted in a manner that might endanger the health or wellbeing of the employee
    • breached a material condition in the contract of service that, in the opinion of the Director, warrants notice not being given
  • the employee allows the employer to keep wages in lieu of notice
  • the person has been employed for less than 3 months
  • (section 54.(1) of the Labour Standards Act)

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    When may an employer terminate employment without giving notice?

    Notice of termination is not required:

    Where the employee

    • has willfully refused to obey a lawful instruction of the employer
    • committed misconduct
    • has been so neglectful of duty that the interest of the employer is adversely affected
    • has breached a material condition of the contract of service that in the opinion of the Director or the Labour Relations Board hearing a complaint, warrants summary dismissal
    • is employed for a firm non-renewable term or for a specific task where the term or task does not exceed 12 months and termination doesn't occur before the term or task is completed
    • has been employed for less than 3 months
    • is to be laid-off for a period of 1 week or less

    Where the employer

    • pays the equivalent normal wages, including overtime earnings, in lieu of notice (1 to 6 weeks pay, depending on the employee’s length of employment)
    • has to terminate an employee as a result of an unforeseen economic or climatic conditions beyond the foreseeable control of the employer, or as a result of a major breakdown or destruction of plant machinery or equipment

    (section 53.(1) of the Labour Standards Act)

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    Termination and Pay

    When must an employee who has been terminated be paid any wages they are owed?

    Within 1 week from the date of termination, an employee must be paid:

    • all wages owing;
    • all vacation pay owing; and
    • pay in lieu of notice, if applicable.

    (section 33 of the Labour Standards Act)

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    What is Pay in Lieu of Notice?

    Pay in lieu of notice is the payment of the employee's normal wages if the appropriate written notice (depending on the employee's years of service) is not given upon termination.

    (section 53.(1)(b) of the Labour Standards Act)

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    Can an employer withhold wages if an employee terminates employment without notice?

    If an employee does not provide proper written notice, the employer may withhold the approved amount of wages in lieu of notice. If the employee does not agree with the wages being withheld, either party can contact the Labour Standards Division to have the matter addressed in accordance with the Act.

    (section 54.(2) of the Labour Standards Act)

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    Group Termination

    What is a group termination of employment?

    A group termination of employees is the termination of the employment of 50 or more employees in a 4 week period.

    (section 57.(1) of the Labour Standards Act)

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    Are notice requirements different for a group termination?

    The Act requires written notice of terminate be given to each employee. The periods of notice are:

    • 8 weeks for 50 to less than 200 employees
    • 12 weeks for 200 to less than 500 employees
    • 16 weeks for 500 or more employees

    Written notice must also be given to the Minister responsible for the Labour Relations Agency immediately after serving notice on the employees. In that notice, the Minister must be made aware of the number of employees involved, the period of notice involved and the reason for the mass termination of employment. If notice is not given to the Minister, no action can be taken by the employer to terminate the services of those employees. Although the employer provides a notice of intention to terminate the employees, the employer must also give the written notice of termination within the specified time limits.

    (section 57.(3)(4)(5) of the Labour Standards Act)

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