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Permits to Vary Some Rules

Part II of The Saskatchewan Employment Act and its regulations set minimum employment standards. Since the rules cannot fit every circumstance, variations are allowed, provided the appropriate permission is obtained.

Employers must apply to the director of Employment Standards for permission for some flexibility within the rules, or obtain the written agreement of the trade union representing the affected employees. Permits are allowed within specific sections of the legislation to adapt to unique occupations and employment situations. They balance the interests and benefits of employees and employers.

Employees affected by the permits are still entitled to all other requirements of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, including overtime, annual holidays and public holidays.

Obtaining a Permit

Permit applications should be submitted at least two weeks before the permit is required. Permits will not be issued retroactively except in exceptional circumstances.

Employment Standards only issues permits to employers. Non-unionized employers must obtain a permit from the director of Employment Standards. Unionized workplaces must obtain the written agreement of the trade union representing the employees affected by the permit.

The form should be completed and returned to:

Employment Standards
Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety
Sturdy Stone Building, 8th Floor
122 - 3rd Avenue North
Saskatoon SK  S7K 2H6

Application forms can also be submitted by fax to 306-933-5444 or by email to:

If approved, the authorization will be returned to the employer.

The permit must be posted in a location that is accessible to the affected employees. Newly hired employees should be informed about the permit if it will apply to them.

To ensure fairness, a separate permit application may be required for each::
  • Job site or business location; and/or
  • Category of employee, within the same organization, where jobs performed by each category or employee are different.

Employee Agreement

Before an authorization is granted, permits require approval agreement of the majority of employees affected. The employees must show their approval agreement by signing the application form. In certain instances, a secret ballot can be arranged. Once a majority of employees agree to the permit, the permit may be issued and will only apply to those employees in the classifications affected.

In the case of the Authorization to Vary Youth Employment Rules Permit application, at least one parent or guardian of the youth seeking employment must sign the application.

Safety and Fatigue Management Plans

Some permits will require employers to submit a fatigue management plan, such as where a job requires heavy physical or a higher than normal mental effort and due care, non-standard and extended work shifts can affect workers' levels of alertness and their performance towards the end of an extended shift. This can result in a greater chance of an incident or injury during the extended portion of the shift.

Therefore, a higher than average time loss work injury rate may be a consideration when determining if an application is to be approved for shift arrangements longer than 10 hours in a day.

Permit Expiration and Limitations

No permit will be issued for a period longer than two years for new permits and three years for renewed permits. The employer must reapply for the permit before it expires if he or she wishes to maintain the authorization.

A permit is specific in its application and cannot be interpreted as an exemption for other legislated or regulated requirements. For example, an averaging of hours permit cannot be interpreted as permission to pay employees less than minimum wage or deny an employee one day off in seven days.

Denying or Revoking a Permit

The director of Employment Standards can cancel or revoke a permit for any lawful reason, including if the:

  • employer coerces employees into supporting an application for a permit;
  • employer has outstanding health, safety or employment standards complaints
  • safety of employees might be in jeopardy as a result of the permit; or
  • employer has a history of multiple violations of The Saskatchewan Employment Act.

The director of Employment Standards must provide employers with due process before cancelling an authorization. Due process includes giving the employer notice and providing an opportunity to make written representations. The director will provide the decision to the employer in writing.

Employees Can Ask the Director to Revoke a Permit

Employees can ask the director to revoke a permit. This request must be in writing and should outline the reason for the request. An investigation will be conducted to determine if the permit should be revoked. If the permit is to be revoked, the employer will be notified and given due process.

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