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Understand employment regulations in the Yukon

Approximately 90 per cent of Yukon firms fall under territorial regulations. A great place to start is the Government of Yukon's Labour Services website.

The other 10 per cent - from the grain industry, air transportation, aircraft operations, communications - fall under the Canada Labour Code. HRSDC has a list of federally-regulated workplaces. Check out Part III of the Canada Labour Code and access information about minimum wage, terminations, vacations, General Holidays, hours of work, etc.

What is the minimum wage? 

Yukon's minimum wage is adjusted every April 1 based on the previous year's Consumer Price Index for Whitehorse. As of April 1, 2019 the minimum wage is $12.71 per hour. 

How do I pay my staff for General Holidays?

Yukon's ten General Holidays are New Year's Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, National Aboriginal Day, Canada Day, Discovery Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day. Easter Sunday and Boxing Day are not General Holidays.

When an employee works on a General Holiday, she/he is entitled to General Holiday pay. Along with the holiday pay the employee may be paid at:

  • an overtime rate for all hours worked on the holiday; or
  • their regular rate for hours worked on the holiday and be given a day off which may be added to the employees annual vacation or be granted a day off at a time convenient to the employer and the employee.

When an employee does not work on a General Holiday, she/he can qualify to receive General Holiday pay if three conditions are met. Specifically, the employee must:

  • have been employed 30 calendar days before the holiday;
  • work their last scheduled day before and their first scheduled day after the holiday;
  • work on the holiday if called to work.

General Holiday pay entitlement depends on whether the employee works regular hours and how they are paid.

  • Regular hourly rate - An employee who works regular hours and is paid an hourly rate must be paid the equivalent of their regular rate of pay for their normal hours of work. For example, an employee who works 12 hours per day is entitled to 12 hours pay.
  • Regular monthly/weekly salary - An employee who works regular hours and is paid a salary must be given a day off without a reduction in their normal salary.
  • Regular commission/piece work - An employee who works regular hours and is paid a commission or on a piece work basis must be paid their average daily wage, exclusive of overtime or bonus, earned in the week of the holiday.
  • Irregular hours - An employee who works less than the standard hours or who works irregular hours must be paid general holiday pay of 10% of the wages (excluding vacation pay) earned for the hours worked in the two calendar weeks immediately prior to the week in which the holiday falls.

What are the mandatory food and rest breaks for employees?

An employee:

  • who works ten hours or less must work no longer than five hours without a 30 minute eating period. An employee who works more than ten hours per day cannot work longer than six hours without a meal break;
  • must have eight consecutive hours off between shifts;
  • is entitled to two full days of rest in each week wherever practicable. An employee who regularly works overtime may work 28 continuous days or 35 continuous days if the additional seven days, without a day of rest, will complete the project. The employee is then entitled to at least one day of rest for each seven continuous days worked. These days of rest are to be taken consecutively.
  • working a split shift must complete the shift within 12 hours of its commencement unless they are employed primarily to serve bus tour passengers in a lodge. An employer can apply to the Director of Employment Standards to have the 12 hour limit varied.

What steps must I take to terminate a worker?

A decision to let an employee go can have legal implications for your business. CFIB recommends that you get legal advice prior to terminating an employee's employment as there are risks to your business beyond receiving an employment standards complaint and investigation. 

A notice of termination must be in writing. This rule applies to the employer and the employee.

The amount of written notice or payment-in-lieu of notice depends on the length of employment. Employers must follow this chart: 

Length of service Written notice required
under 6 months no notice required
6 months or more but less than 1 year 1 week
1 year or more, but less than 3 years 2 weeks
3 years or more, but less than 4 years 3 weeks
4 years or more, but less than 5 years 4 weeks
5 years or more, but less than 6 years 5 weeks
6 years or more, but less than 7 years 6 weeks
7 years or more, but less than 8 years 7 weeks
More than 8 years 8 weeks


Employees must provide written notice to the employer as follows:

Length of service Written notice required
under 6 months no notice required
6 months or more, but less than 2 years 1 week
2 years or more, but less than 4 years 2 weeks
4 years or more, but less than 6 years 3 weeks
More than 6 years 4 weeks

There are exceptions to the requirements for written notice or pay-in-lieu of notice. To see that list, or to learn more about termination, go to the FAQs page.

July 29, 2013