What employers need to know about Saskatchewan payroll legislation
Nov 13, 2023Resources
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As your business’ payroll expert, you likely have a great rhythm in place to get employees paid accurately and on time every pay period. Nevertheless, the nature of payroll also means that sometimes irregular scenarios pop up, and that can mean extra time to sift through and understand legislation to make sure you got it exactly right.
Legislative requirements differ between provinces and territories in Canada. Straightforward and centralized info is great to help Canadian businesses stay compliant, especially when processing payroll. If you’re a Saskatchewan-based business or an organization with employees in Saskatchewan, this article is for you! We answer some of the questions most commonly asked of our own payroll pros, including minimum wage, reporting for duty pay, public holidays, Saskatchewan WCB premiums, and vacation pay rates and entitlements.
Federal and provincial legislation determines that all employees are eligible to receive minimum wage, which is the lowest rate at which an employer can legally pay its employees. The minimum wage rate differs by province and territory, and - like other legislation - it’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure they’re adhering to the law in their own jurisdiction.
Here’s what employers need to know about minimum wage in Saskatchewan:
- There’s only one minimum wage rate: the general rate.
- The general minimum wage rate is set to increase on October 1, 2024 (so mark your calendars now!).
Exceptions to minimum wage
Yes, you read that right. There are exceptions to minimum wage in Saskatchewan, where particular job functions do not have to be paid minimum wage. They are:
- Market garden, ranching, or farming labourers
- Some care providers who are employed in private homes
- Very temporary or sporadic babysitters
- Athletes while engaged in their athletic endeavor
- Volunteers at non-profit organizations, and those who have a physical or mental disability or impairment and work at either a non-profit organization or institution in a program that is either educational, therapeutic or rehabilitative
For more information about minimum wage in Saskatchewan, visit: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards/payment-of-wages-and-payroll-administration/minimum-wage-and-reporting-for-duty-pay.
Reporting for duty pay
In Saskatchewan, employees who physically report to work – other than for overtime – are eligible to receive compensation, which is called “reporting for duty pay.” When an employee reports to work away from home, they must be compensated for a minimum of three hours at their regular hourly rate, even if they work for less time than that. Some scenarios where reporting for duty pay applies include:
- An employee is called in to work for two hours – in this case, they’re legislatively required to receive compensation for three hours at their hourly wage.
- An employer schedules an employee for a two-hour shift. They later take the employee off the schedule and don’t tell the employee, who shows up for the originally scheduled shift. The employee is legislatively required to receive compensation for three hours at their hourly wage.
- An employer requires an employee to report to work in order to receive either a lay-off or a termination notice. The employee is legislatively required to receive compensation for three hours at their hourly wage.
Exceptions to reporting for duty pay
If an employee is called in to work overtime, reporting for duty pay does not apply. The employee would receive overtime pay for the hours worked. In Saskatchewan, the overtime rate is 1.5 time the hourly wage. A scenario where reporting for duty pay doesn’t apply because of overtime includes:
- An employee is called in to work one hour of overtime and their wage is $15 per hour. The employee would receive $22.50 in overtime pay as opposed to $45 in reporting for duty pay.
There are also special stipulations on reporting for duty pay when it comes to working on a public holiday. Generally, reporting for duty pay applies on public holidays; however, the employee must be compensated for whichever is greater between reporting for duty pay or the wages for hours worked on the public holiday. In Saskatchewan, the rate for working on a public holiday is 1.5 times the hourly wage. A scenario where this exception applies includes:
- An employee is required to work on a public holiday for one hour and their wage is $15 per hour. The employee would receive $45 in compensation because the reporting for duty pay is greater than that of the wages for working on a public holiday.
- If that same employee worked three hours on the public holiday, they would receive $67.50 in compensation because the rate for working on a public holiday is greater than reporting for duty pay.
With reporting for duty pay, employers should be aware that not all employees reporting to work are required to receive compensation for three hours. Students working in the school term (not applicable to post-secondary students), bus drivers (transporting students to and from school and employed by a school board), and noon-hour supervisors (employed by a school board) receive a minimum of one hour at their regular wage as opposed to three. However, the standard reporting for duty pay parameters apply if these employees report to work during school breaks and vacations.
For more information about reporting for duty pay, visit: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards/payment-of-wages-and-payroll-administration/minimum-wage-and-reporting-for-duty-pay.
Across Canada, it’s common that the public holidays recognized by either the province or territory differ from one another. In Saskatchewan, a business can either close on a public holiday (with their employees receiving a day off with pay), or remain open, with the employees working and receiving pay for working a public holiday.
What Saskatchewan employers need to know about paying employees for public holidays
- Employees who work on a public holiday earn 1.5 times their regular hourly wage, including employees in managerial roles, professional employees, and operators of group homes. The pay for working on a public holiday is in addition to the normal day’s pay, which is known as Public Holiday Pay.
- The way Public Holiday Pay is applied depends on if the employee is paid hourly, is salaried, or is an hourly-paid construction employee. There are also specific parameters if an employee quits, is laid off, or is terminated before a public holiday. The Province of Saskatchewan has a Public Holiday Pay Calculator to assist employers in calculating how much to pay an employee for a public holiday.
- On the week a public holiday lands, employees are to receive overtime pay after working 32 hours (not including the hours worked on the public holiday). There are special circumstances regarding qualifying for daily overtime for the week of a public holiday, and for workplaces with a modified work arrangement or averaging hours permit.
For more information regarding pay for working on a public holiday, Public Holiday Pay, and overtime the week of a public holiday in Saskatchewan, visit: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards/public-statutory-holidays/paying-employees-for-public-holidays.
Saskatchewan employers should be aware of the province’s 10 public holidays, which are:
- New Year’s Day
- Family Day
- Good Friday
- Victoria Day
- Canada Day
- Saskatchewan Day
- Labour Day
- Remembrance Day
- Christmas Day
It’s also noteworthy for employers that Easter Monday, Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day are not public holidays in Saskatchewan. Under The Saskatchewan Employment Act, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 is also not a public holiday. The Province of Saskatchewan’s website states, “it may be observed in provincial workplaces, such as by an employer’s policy or a collective bargaining agreement that includes the observance of federal statutory holidays.”
For more information about public holidays, visit: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards/public-statutory-holidays/list-of-saskatchewan-public-holidays.
Saskatchewan employers are subject to Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) premiums, which “are the funds needed to cover the cost of WCB benefits and services that are collected from registered employers.” Saskatchewan WCB’s website also reads, “employers’ premiums go into an injury fund, which goes toward: providing earnings loss benefits to workers injured on the job who are unable to work as a result of their injury; providing medical aid and rehabilitation to workers injured on the job; and the general administration of the WCB, which includes costs to run the compensation system, adjudicating claims and developing prevention and safety initiatives”.
Saskatchewan WCB sets their premium rates by grouping employers together to create an industry rate code. In turn, all employers within an industry code will start with the same industry premium rate. For more information on the premium rates, visit: https://www.wcbsask.com/premium-rates-and-how-theyre-set.
Here’s what Saskatchewan employers covered under Saskatchewan WCB’s Act need to know:
- Saskatchewan WCB sends employers a statement of account that will show the business’ premium amount and the due date for payment.
- In order to calculate an employer’s premiums, Saskatchewan WCB uses a business’ assessable earnings. As such, employers are required to report to WCB all assessable earnings for each worker – full-time, part-time, casual, and contract – up to the maximum assessable amount per calendar year. Assessable earnings include all employment income (as outlined on the Canada Revenue Agency’s T4) and other taxable allowances or benefits. There are earning types that are not required to be reported to WCB, such as severance/retiring allowance, pension and retirement benefits, reimbursement for travel expenses, among others.
For more information on the earnings and other taxable allowances and benefits to be reported to Saskatchewan WCB, visit: https://www.wcbsask.com/policy-and-procedure/assessable-earnings-pol-242010.
Payworks pro tip: A third-party payroll provider like Payworks can help simplify this process. WCB account numbers can be entered into our Payroll application and we’ll remit those premiums on behalf of our clients.
Vacation pay and vacation entitlements
Employers with employees in Saskatchewan should be aware that the rate at which vacation is calculated is different from most other jurisdictions in Canada. While vacation rates are dependent on how many years an employee has worked for the same employer and those rates and entitlements vary between jurisdictions, generally the starting vacation rate in most provinces and territories is around 4%, whereas in Saskatchewan it’s 5.77%.
Another distinctive element to calculating vacation pay in Saskatchewan is that the base rate (5.77%) applies during the first nine years of employment. When an employee reaches 10 years with the same employer, their vacation entitlement and rate for vacation pay change to four weeks at a rate of 7.69%.
Saskatchewan’s minimum vacation pay rate and minimum vacation entitlement are outlined below:
5.77% for the first 9 years
After 1 year – 3 weeks
7.69% 10 years and beyond
After 10 years – 4 weeks
The Province of Saskatchewan has a Vacation Pay Calculator that can be used by employers to calculate the vacation pay owed to employees. For more information on calculating vacation pay for employees based in Saskatchewan, visit: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards/vacations-and-vacation-pay/annual-vacation-and-vacation-pay/calculating-and-paying-vacation-pay.
Our in-house payroll pros receive questions pertaining to Canadian legislation (like this!) from our clients, who love our one-to-one service model and being assigned a dedicated, NPI-trained rep who’s there to answer the call. We also help Canadian businesses stay informed on important legislation with our free Payroll Guide! Download this free, comprehensive resource that helps businesses like yours to pay their employees accurately: https://www.payworks.ca/landing-pages/campaigns/payroll-guide.