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Understand employment regulations in Manitoba, including what's new as of January 1, 2012

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Do these questions sound familiar? We can help!

What changes came into effect January 1, 2012?


Which set of employment standards rules apply to my business?

Approximately 90% of Manitoba firms fall under provincial regulations. A great place to start is the Manitoba Employment Standards Branch website.

The other 10% – from the grain industry, air transportation, aircraft operations, highway transportation, communications – fall under the Canada Labour Code. Employment and Social Development Canada has a list of federally-regulated workplaces. Check out Part III of the Canada Labour Code and access pamphlets about minimum wage, terminations, vacations, General Holidays, hours of work, etc.

Where can I find specific details about the Manitoba Employment Standards rules?

The province has fact sheets on issues such as General Holidays, overtime, vacations, unpaid leaves, minimum wage, termination and more. Click here to access these resources.

Are the rules the same for the construction industry?

Some employment regulations are different for Manitoba's construction industry. Read the construction industry factsheet for more information.

What about agricultural workers?

Many employed in Manitoba's agricultural sector have been included in employment regulations since June 2008. Visit the agriculture factsheet to learn more.

Can I speak with someone about employment regulations?

Certainly! Call 1-888-234-2232 and our Business Counsellors will be happy to assist you.


What is Manitoba's minimum wage?


Minimum wage is $11.00 per hour effective October 1, 2015. On October 1, 2017, it will increase by 15 cents, to $11.15 per hour. Minimum wage will now be based on the previous year's inflation rate as determined by the Consumer Price Index and will be adjusted every October 1st.

Minimum wages for heavy construction/commercial construction are set by the Construction Industry Minimum Wage Regulation.


Is Remembrance Day a General Holiday in Manitoba?

Although Remembrance Day is not a General Holiday, there are restrictions for operating businesses on November 11 and the calculation to pay an employee who works on Remembrance Day is the same as for General Holidays. Check out the specifics about Remembrance Day on this fact sheet.


What are the General Holidays in Manitoba and how do I pay my staff for General Holidays?

There are eight general holidays throughout the year:

  • New Year's Day
  • Louis Riel Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day


Easter Sunday, the August Civic Holiday and Boxing Day are not General Holidays. As such, employees who do notwork on Easter Sunday, the August Civic holiday and Boxing Day do not have to be paid.

General Holiday pay is five percent of an employee's total wages in the four-week period immediately before the holiday. Overtime should not be included in this calculation. Learn how to handle General Holidays in your workplace by reading this fact sheet.


What are the mandatory food and rest breaks for employees?

Employees must receive a 30 minute unpaid break after every five hours of work. This is the only break required by the Employment Standards Code. Many workplaces provide coffee breaks or other meal breaks, but they are at the employer's discretion.


What steps must I take to terminate a worker?

Period of employment

Notice period


at least thirty days but less than one year

one week

at least one year and less than three years

two weeks

at least three years and less than five years

four weeks

at least five years and less than ten years

six weeks

at least ten years

eight weeks


The Employment Standards Code states employers wishing to terminate employees must give notice of termination or pay wages equal to what would normally be earned during the notice. The notice period varies depending on how long employees have worked for the same employer.

Employers can allow the employee to work out the notice period, or pay wages in lieu of notice, or a combination of both.

Other laws can also impact termination, including the Human Rights Code, The Workplace Safety and Health Act, and the Labour Relations Act. Civil employment law can also have an impact. Questions about civil employment law should be answered by a lawyer.


What changes came into effect January 1, 2012?

Averaging permits possible in all industries

When a company's needs cannot be met within the standard hours of work (8 hours/day and 40 hours/week), the work break or the weekly day of rest, the employer may apply to the province for an Averaging Permit, if 75 per cent of the affected employees agree in writing to a new schedule.

Any new schedule may cycle over several weeks, but must always average back to 40 hours/week. The total number of weeks is considered one cycle.

If a permit is in place and the employer asks or allows employees to work longer than the hours stated in the permit, those employees must be paid 1½ times their regular hourly wage for each overtime hour worked.

Example 1: A 5-week cycle with 12 hours/day, 60 hours/week and 200 hours/5 weeks. A sample schedule for the whole 5-week cycle must be included with the application.

Example 2: A 2-week cycle with maximum 10 hours/day, 50 hours/week and 80 hours/2 weeks.

The steps are:

1. Use this form to survey all employees and include all responses with your application.

2. Determine if you can use the Simplified Averaging Permit Application. Eligibility:

  • 75 per cent of the affected employees agree with the proposed terms and conditions
  • set schedule (must provide an example)
  • affected employees regularly work more than 35 hours per week (does not apply to workers under the age of 16)
  • no more than 12 hours per day without overtime pay
  • no more than 60 hours per week without overtime pay
  • no less than an average of 2 days off from work per week, per averaging cycle
  • 30 minute break after 5 hours of work; or for shifts of more than 10 hours per day, break times totalling 1 hour per day
  • any hours over 8 hours per day worked beyond the scheduled shift are paid at overtime rates
  • repeated non-compliance with the Code is not an issue


If the above conditions are met, use this application form.

If the above conditions are not met, or if applying for a Work Break Order or Weekly Day of Rest Order, use the this form.

3. Post the Permit/Order where all employees can see it.

4. Know the expiry date on the Permit/Order, so you can reapply or change your company's schedule back to comply with the Employment Standards Code.

To learn more, check out the Averaging Permits, Work Break Order and Weekly Day of Rest Order fact sheets.


Individual workers can request a flex-time agreement

Employees working more than 35 hours a week with the same employer can ask for a written agreement to change his/her standard hours of work (8 hours/day and 40 hours/week). The agreement cannot go beyond 40 hours per week and it can be ended by either party with 14 days' notice.

Employers cannot use flex-time agreements as a condition of employment, nor force an employee into a flex-time agreement.

Example 1: Mon 8 hours; Tues 8 hours; Wed 10 hours; Thurs 8 hours; Fri 6 hours

Example 2: Monday through Thursday, 10 hours/day

The written agreement must clearly show the hours agreed to. See the sample agreement.

The province does not approve flex-time agreements, but will likely want to see it if a worker filed a claim with the department.

To learn more, click on the Individual Flex-time Agreement fact sheet.


Compensatory time off for General Holidays allowed in climate-controlled agricultural operations

Employers in climate-controlled agricultural businesses can chose to pay regular wages for hours worked on a General Holiday, and give the employee another day off with General Holiday pay. The day off must be within 30 days, or if the employee agrees, at any time before the employee's next vacation. To learn more, check out the General Holidays and Agriculture fact sheets.


Changing the exceptions for notice on termination from 'Wilful Misconduct' to 'Just Cause'

Previously, one of the circumstances in which an employer did not need to provide notice of termination was if an employee acted, "in a manner that is not condoned by the employer and that (i) constitutes wilful misconduct, disobedience or wilful neglect of duty, or (ii) is violent in the workplace, or (iii) is dishonest in the course of employment".

As of January 1, 2012, that section was replaced with "when the employment of the employee is terminated for just cause".

The employer is responsible to prove just cause. Factors considered are the seriousness of the incident, the employer's duty to warn the employee and whether or not the employee acted in a reasonable and fair manner.

Examples of just cause include:

  • theft
  • dishonesty
  • violence
  • willful misconduct
  • neglect of duty
  • poor performance
  • disobedience
  • conflict of interest

Very serious acts such as willful misconduct, dishonesty, theft and violence may happen only once, but be serious enough to qualify as just cause.

On their own, behaviours such as being late, missing work and poor performance do not necessarily qualify as just cause. If an employee acts in this way, you need to engage in progressive discipline. Take steps to prove the employee understands what is expected, has time and training to improve behavior and understands he/she may be terminated if he/she does not meet your requirements. If you cannot show documented progressive discipline, it will be difficult to prove you had cause for termination without notice for these types of performance concerns.

To learn more, click on the Termination and Just Cause fact sheets.