Education

Working in Yukon

Immigration

Employment standards

Yukon employers must follow employment standards (rules). These rules apply to foreign workers and to workers who are Canadian citizens.Frosted Yukon flags in front of the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre.

These rules include:

  • Minimum wage
  • Hours of work and overtime pay
  • Paid vacation
  • General holidays
  • Time off for illness or a death in the worker’s family

For jobs in Yukon, these rules are written in two laws: Employment Standards Act and Canada Labour Code. The Employment Standards Act applies to most jobs in Yukon, but not all. The Canada Labour Code applies to anyone who works for the Government of Canada or a Yukon First Nation, and to anyone who works in a bank or at an airport, for example. There are different employment rules for babysitters and live-in caregivers. Information about these jobs is at www.cic.gc.ca/English/work/caregiver/index.asp.

The Employment Standards Act and the Canada Labour Code apply to full-time and part-time workers.

You can read the Employment Standards Act and get more information at www.community.gov.yk.ca/es.html. You can read the Canada Labour Code and get more information at http://www.labour.gc.ca/eng/resources/laws/index.shtml.

On this page, you can learn about:

Employer expectations
Worker responsibilities
Worker rights
Breaks
Shift work
Time off / Leave
Dress code
Seniority
Minimum working age
Questions about employment standards
Wages and deductions
When a job ends

Employer expectations

Yukon employers expect you to:

  • Arrive at work on time and ready to start your shift.
  • Take only the allowed time off for breaks.
  • Do the best job you can.
  • Work safely.

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Worker responsibilities

Yukon workers have employment responsibilities. For example, you must not take time off without permission, and you must dress and act appropriately for the type of work you are hired to do. You must also:

  • Report your work hours honestly.
  • Follow company rules and policies.
  • Take good care of your employer’s equipment and tools.
  • Return things that belong to your employer when the job ends.

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Worker rights

Yukon workers have employment rights. These rights are protected by law. These rights apply to both foreign workers and workers who are permanent residents or Canadian citizens. For example, you have the right to the correct payment of wages, overtime, vacation pay, and general holiday pay. You also have the right to certain kinds of unpaid leave (time off)—for example, when you are sick or if someone in your family dies.

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Breaks

Employers must normally give workers a 30-minute meal break after 5 hours of work. If a worker’s shift is longer than 10 hours, the meal break can come after 6 hours of work. Employers do not have to pay wages for meal breaks. Employers do not have to give workers coffee or cigarette breaks.

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Shift work

Some employers need workers at night as well as during the day. For example, hospitals need workers 24 hours a day. If you have to work shifts, your employer must give you a rest period of at least 8 hours between shifts. For example, if you worked from midnight until 7:00 a.m., your next shift cannot start before 3:00 p.m. that day.

You may have to work a split shift. This means that your work shift is divided into 2 parts. For example, you work for 4 hours, not work for 4 hours, and then work again for 4 more hours on the same day. Split shifts must be completed within 12 hours. For example, if your first shift starts at 7:00 a.m., your second shift that day must be finished by 7:00 p.m.

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Time off / Leave

Illness

Yukon workers earn 1 unpaid sick day for every month of employment, up to a maximum of 12 days per year. You should take sick days only when you are too sick or injured to come to work, your illness is contagious (easily given to someone else), or you need to see a doctor or other medical person. Employers do not have to pay workers for sick days. Your employer can ask you for a medical certificate to prove that you were sick or injured.

Personal appointments

Your employer expects you to arrange medical and other personal appointments during non-working hours. Most employers understand that this is not always possible. If you have to take time off for a personal appointment, your employer does not have to pay you for the time you are not at work. Some employers allow workers to work extra hours at another time to make up the personal time off. You should always check with your employer before arranging a personal appointment during working hours.

Family death

If someone in your immediate family* dies, your employer must give you up to one week off without pay. This is called “bereavement leave.” The person’s funeral must happen within that week. Check with your employer and the Immigration Unit before going to a funeral outside Canada.

*Immediate family means your spouse or common-law partner, your parent, or your child.

Family emergency

Your employer does not have to give you time off for family emergencies; you may have to use vacation time for a family emergency. If you must leave Canada to deal with a family emergency, make sure that you get your employer’s approval first. You should also check with the Immigration Unit to make sure that your employment or immigration status will not be affected.

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Dress code

Your workplace may have a dress code. This means that your employer can tell you what kinds of clothes you may or may not wear at work, for safety or other reasons. Your employer may ask you to remove jewellery or to cover tattoos. In some workplaces, you may have to wear a uniform.

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Seniority

Workers who have worked for an employer for a period of time usually have more seniority than new workers. Workers with more seniority may earn higher wages, get longer holiday breaks, or not have to work certain shifts. In Yukon, there are no laws about seniority. There may be rules about seniority in workplaces where the workers belong to unions.

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Minimum working age

In Yukon, there is no law that says how old you must be before you can work. (There is a rule that you must be at least 16 years old to work in a mine and at least 18 to work underground or at the working face of a mine.)

Everyone under 16 years of age must attend school and cannot work during school hours without special permission from the government.

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Questions about employment standards?

You can call Employment Standards if you have any questions about employment standards or if you believe your employer is not following the rules—for example, your employer is not giving you a meal break or allowing you to take time off when you are sick. In Whitehorse, call 667- 5944. Outside Whitehorse call 1-800-661-0408 extension 5944. Your employer cannot punish you, and you cannot be fired or deported for calling Employment Standards.

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Wages and deductions

Social Insurance Number

Every worker in Canada must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You cannot work without a SIN. Your SIN is your personal identification number for employment purposes. It is used for income tax. You do not have to write your SIN on a job application form, but you must give your SIN to your employer once you are hired. Your bank will ask for your SIN when you open a bank account or invest money. You may also have to give your SIN to get government benefits such as Employment Insurance.

You should not give your SIN to anyone else. For example, do not use your SIN as identification (ID); use your driver’s licence or another piece of ID instead. You should keep your SIN card in a safe place and keep your number secret. If you want to know more about who can ask for your SIN, visit www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sin/protect/provide.shtml.

To get a Social Insurance Number, visit the Service Canada Centre, Suite 125, 300 Main Street (Elijah Smith Building), in Whitehorse. The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

TD1 Form

Before your employer can pay your wages, you must fill out a TD1 Form. You usually fill out the TD1 Form on your first day at work. This form helps your employer choose the right income tax rate for you. Your income tax rate is the percentage of your income that you pay as tax. Your income tax rate is based on how much money you earn and whether or not you have any dependents.

Minimum wage

Minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage an employer can pay a worker. The Yukon minimum wage may change every year on April 1st. Employers must pay their workers at least minimum wage, whether workers are paid by the hour, the week, or the month. Tips and gratuities are extra income; they are not considered part of a worker’s wage. Workers who earn tips and gratuities (restaurant servers, for example) must be paid at least minimum wage, not including their tips.

Overtime

In most jobs, your employer must pay overtime if you work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour day or more than 40 hours in a 7-day week. If there is a general holiday in the week, your employer must pay overtime if you work more than 32 hours in that week.

Your employer does not have to pay overtime if you are paid by commission or if you are:

  • A manager
  • A live-in caregiver
  • A member of the employer’s family

Overtime pay is 1.5 times your hourly pay rate. For example, if you normally earn $15 per hour, your overtime pay would be $22.50 per hour. A worker can agree in writing to get time off with pay instead of getting overtime pay. In this case, the time off is calculated at straight time. For example, if you worked 8 hours of overtime in a week, you would get 8 hours off with pay at the regular pay rate.

Overtime is calculated based on a 24-hour clock. The clock starts at the beginning of a worker’s first shift. Calculating overtime can be confusing when you work on 2 different days within a 24-hour period. For example:

  • Your first shift started at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and ended at 9:00 p.m.
  • Your next shift started at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and ended at 6:00 p.m.
  • You took a 30-minute unpaid meal break at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.
  • You worked 4.5 hours on Friday and 7.5 hours on Saturday.

So, from 4:30 p.m. on Friday to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, you worked a total of 12 hours. The Saturday morning shift started within 24 hours of the start of your Friday afternoon shift, so all of your Saturday hours are included in the overtime calculation:

 Friday  4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m  4.5 hours straight time
 Saturday  10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m  3.5 hours straight time
 Saturday  1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (minus unpaid meal break from 3:00 – 3:30)
 4 hours overtime pay

Averaging agreement

Some employers have averaging agreements with their workers. These agreements affect how overtime is paid. Ask your employer if there is an averaging agreement in your workplace.

Paid vacation

Yukon workers are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation leave for every year of work. This means that your employer must pay you at least 4% of your wages in addition to your regular pay. This is called vacation pay. For example, if you work 35 hours a week and you earn $15 per hour, your wages for the year would be $27,300 ($15 x 1,820 hours). In one year you would earn $1,092 vacation pay (4% of $27,300).

Your employer can decide when to pay vacation pay: Some employers pay it on every cheque, some pay it at the end of your work year, and some pay it when you take your vacation leave. Workers normally take vacation leave within 10 months of the end of the work year. For example, if you started your job on January 1, 2015, you would earn 2 weeks of paid vacation by December 31, 2015. You would normally take your two weeks of paid vacation before October 31, 2016.

You can agree in writing not to take your 2-week vacation break but to work instead. In that case your employer must pay you the vacation pay you have earned in addition to your regular wages for those two weeks.

Your employer cannot force you to work instead of taking vacation leave, but your employer may prefer that you not take your vacation at a particular time—for example, when the business is very busy.

General holidays

Government offices, banks, and most private businesses are closed on general holidays. Many stores and restaurants stay open, however. (Some people say “statutory holiday” instead of general holiday.) Your employer may ask you to work on a general holiday. If you agree to work, your employer must pay you overtime plus general holiday pay. This means that you would earn 2.5 times your regular pay for working on a general holiday. For example, if you earn $15 per hour, your employer must pay you $37.50 per hour that day. (You must have worked for that employer for at least 30 days before the general holiday, and you must have worked your regular shift before and after the holiday.)

There are 9 general holidays in Yukon every year. Some general holidays always occur on a specific date; for example, Christmas Day is always December 25. Other holidays may occur on different days, usually Friday or Monday, to give workers a “long weekend.”

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Good Friday (the Friday of Easter weekend, in either March or April)
  • Victoria Day (on or close to May 24)
  • Canada Day (July 1)
  • Discovery Day (on or close to August 17)
  • Labour Day (first Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (second Monday in October)
  • Remembrance Day (November 11)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Yukon government offices and many businesses are also closed on these days, but they are not general holidays in Yukon:

  • Heritage Day (third Friday in February)
  • Easter Monday (the Monday of Easter weekend, in either March or April)
  • Boxing Day (December 26)

Reporting pay

Your employer might send you home after you arrive at work for your shift. For example, there might be more workers than are needed for that shift. If that happens, your employer must pay you two hours’ reporting pay at your regular pay rate.

Your employer does not have to pay reporting pay if:

  • The reasons for sending you home are beyond your employer’s control. For example, very bad weather makes it impossible for you to do your job.
  • You are unfit to do your work. For example, you are sick or impaired from drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
  • Your employer tried to contact you before you came to work.

Pay period

All Yukon workers must be paid at least every 16 days—in other words, twice a month. This is true whether you are paid by the hour, the week, or the month. (If you are paid a monthly salary, your employer cannot wait until the end of the month to pay you; your employer must pay part of your salary in the middle of the month. This is called a mid-month advance.)

Wage statement

Your employer must give you a written wage statement at least once a month. This statement may be attached to your cheque as a “pay stub,” or it may be on a separate piece of paper. The statement must show:

  • Pay period (dates you are being paid for)
  • Number of hours you are being paid for
  • Rate of pay (for example, $15.00 per hour or $3,000 per month)
  • Deductions (for example, income tax and Employment Insurance)
  • Gross pay (amount you earn before deductions)
  • Net pay (amount you “take home” after deductions)
  • Vacation pay if your employer is paying it on every cheque

You should always write down the hours you work to make sure that your employer pays you correctly. You should check your wage statements carefully and tell your employer immediately if you think there is a mistake. You should keep all of your wage statements so that you can compare them to the T4 slip your employer will give you in February.

T4 slip

Before the end of February, your employer must give you a T4 slip. The T4 slip shows the total wages you earned in the previous year and the money your employer deducted from your wages. You need the T4 slip to prepare your income tax return. You send one copy of the T4 slip with your completed return and you keep one copy for your own personal records. You must submit your income tax return by April 30 every year. If you move, remember to give your new address to any previous employers so that you will receive your T4 slip(s).

You should keep all your wage statements until you get your T4 slip. When you get your T4 slip, you can compare your wage statements with the amounts on the T4 slip to make sure that they are correct. Tell your employer immediately if you think there is a mistake. (If for some reason you don’t get a T4 slip, you can submit your wage statements with your income tax return instead.)

Deductions

Your employer deducts certain amounts of money from your wages.These deductions include:

  • Income tax
  • Employment Insurance (EI)
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
  • Union dues, if you belong to a union

Your employer can deduct money from your wages for room and board (accommodation and meals), but only if you have agreed to this in writing and it is part of your employment contract.

Normally, you must pay for any food and beverages that you eat or drink and any goods and services that you get from your employer. Your employer can deduct these costs from your wages if you agree in writing.

Your employer can deduct money for extended health care benefits (for example, Blue Cross), if they are part of the employment contract you have with your employer or if they are part of the collective agreement your union has with your employer.

Your employer cannot deduct money from your wages for Yukon Health Care Insurance. Your employer must pay for temporary health insurance coverage for your first three months of employment. After that, you will be covered by Yukon Health Care Insurance at no cost to you. Your employer cannot deduct money from your wages for workers’ compensation.

Your employer cannot deduct cash register shortages if more than one person has control of the cash register. Your employer cannot deduct money from your pay if a customer doesn’t pay for something at your workplace. Your employer cannot deduct wages for poor quality work or for damage to tools or equipment.

You can ask your employer to make certain other kinds of deductions. For example, you can ask your employer to give money to a charity every month or to pay private insurance premiums directly from your wages. You must ask your employer to make these kinds of deductions in writing.

Uniforms and equipment

You may have to pay for your work uniform and for certain kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE) that you need to do your work safely—for example, general-purpose work gloves or work boots.

Questions about wages and deductions?

You can call Employment Standards if you have any questions about wages and deductions or if you believe your employer is not following the rules—for example, your employer is not paying you overtime or vacation pay. In Whitehorse, call 667-5944. Outside Whitehorse call 1-800-661-0408 extension 5944. Your employer cannot punish you, and you cannot be fired or deported for calling Employment Standards.

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When a job ends

Being fired or laid off

Sometimes employers want to end a worker’s employment because they are dissatisfied with the worker. They want to fire the worker. Sometimes, the business is not able to keep all of its workers because there is not enough work for all of the workers. They need to lay off the worker.

When you are fired, you will usually not be able to work for that employer again; you will have to look for another job. When you are laid off, there is a chance you will be re-hired if the business gets busy again.

Workers who are fired or laid off might or might not be able to collect Employment Insurance. If you get fired or laid off from your job, you must notify the Immigration Unit immediately to discuss your options for remaining in Canada and finding another job.

Whether you are fired or laid off, your employer must pay the vacation pay that you have earned up until then. Your employer must pay your vacation pay within 7 calendar days of your last day of work. If you are fired or laid off, you must return tools, equipment and other items such as keys, credit cards and uniforms, unless you paid for these items and they belong to you.

If you belong to a union, you should check your collective agreement and talk to your union representative to find out if there is anything you can do about the situation.

Written notice or “in lieu” pay

During your probation period (usually 3 or 6 months) your employer can end your employment for any reason and without giving you any written notice. If you have worked beyond your probation period (usually for more than 6 months), your employer must either give you written notice or pay you “in lieu” (instead of giving notice). The amount of notice or in lieu pay depends on how long you have worked for that employer. For example, if you have worked for more than 6 months but less than 1 year, your employer must give you either 1 weeks’ notice or pay you 1 weeks’ wages.

If your employer gives you notice, you will work until the last day of your employment and you will be paid for your time as usual. If your employer pays you in lieu of notice, you will get your wages but not have to work for them.

If your employer can prove that there was a very good reason to fire you, your employer doesn’t have to give you either notice or wages. For example, if you don’t follow company rules or you are often late for work, your employer might be able to fire you without notice or in lieu pay.

Quitting your job

Occasionally, a work situation becomes very difficult for a worker. You may feel that you have to quit your job. You have the right to quit a job, but you must call the Immigration Unit before you quit. Unit staff can often help to solve workplace problems by talking about them with the worker and the employer.

Record of Employment

When your employment ends (whether you quit or were fired or laid off), your employer should give you a Record of Employment (ROE). This form shows the dates when you started and finished working for that employer. You need this form if you are going to apply for Employment Insurance.

If your employer doesn’t give you an ROE, you should ask for one. Keep it with your personal records. You can use it to update your resume, and you can show it to future employers to prove your work history.

Reference letter

If your employment contract is ending soon, or you are being laid off, you can ask your employer for a reference letter. (If you are being fired, your employer probably won’t give you a reference letter.) A reference letter can help you get another job. You can attach it to your resume. It usually includes:

  • The dates you worked for the employer
  • Your job title and duties
  • Your special skills
  • Comments about the quality of your work
  • A recommendation

Exit interview

When a job ends, your employer might ask you to do an exit interview. In an exit interview you usually discuss:

  • The kind of work you did
  • What you learned
  • What was good about the job
  • Any problems you had and what you did to solve them

Questions about when a job ends?

You can call Employment Standards if you have any questions about the end of your job, or if you believe your employer is not following the rules—for example, your employer did not give you written notice that you were being laid off.

In Whitehorse, call 667-5944. Outside Whitehorse call 1-800-661-0408 extension 5944.

You can also call the Immigration Unit (667-5131 or 1-800-661-0408 extension 5131) if you have questions about the end of your job and how it will affect your employment or immigration status. If you are a Yukon Nominee, you must tell the Immigration Unit when you receive your permanent residence so that they can make a copy of your permanent resident card and close your Nominee file.

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