Employee Rights and Obligations


When you work in Canada, you have rights. Even if you are a temporary foreign worker, you’re protected by law and have the same rights as other employees including protection under New Brunswick’s employment standards, workplace health and safety, and workers’ compensation legislation.

Employment Standards

Employment standards are the minimum standards of employment for employers and employees.

Most employees, including temporary foreign workers, are covered by the Employment Standards Act. The act does not distinguish between part-time, full-time, or casual employees. All employees are entitled to the minimum employment rights outlined in the Employment Standards Act.

If you work in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction, these are covered by the Canada Labour Code. Areas include, but are not limited to, railways, pipelines, ferries, radio and television, banks, cable systems, extra-provincial trucking and shipping, federal Crown corporations, and many First Nation activities. You can find more information about federally regulated work practices on the Employment and Social Development Canada website or by calling 1-800-622-6232 (toll-free in New Brunswick).

Depending on the occupation or industry in which they work, some people are not subject to the Employment Standards Act. This includes people who work in a private home for the homeowner (babysitters, homecare workers, and construction workers employed directly by the homeowner), independent contractors, and in certain cases, people who provide agricultural services to small family farms.

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour regulates employment standards. If you have any questions about the Employment Standards Act or its regulations, you can contact the Employment Standards Branch of the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour:


1-888-452-2687 (toll-free in New Brunswick)

Getting Paid

New Brunswick employers are required to pay their employees at least every 16 calendar days. On each payday, you should receive all wages and commissions owed to you up to seven days prior to payday.

Employers must pay each of their employees in Canadian dollars by cheque or deposit to the employee’s personal bank accounts.

Employers are also required to give each of their employees a pay statement on each payday showing:

  • the dates of the pay period and the gross wages for that period; and
  • the amount and description of each deduction, and the net pay.

Deductions From Earnings

The Employment Standards Act does not expressly set out the conditions under which an employer may deduct sums of money from an employee’s wages. However, the Labour and Employment Board has established criteria in this regard.

You should contact the Employment Standards Branch before allowing your employer to make any deductions to your wages other than those regulated by law (Employment Insurance, Canada Pension, and court-ordered).

Weekly Rest Period

All employees are entitled to a weekly rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours. The only exceptions to this are where:

  • the employee is required to cope with an emergency; or
  • the employee is not usually employed for more than three hours in any one day.

Food and Rest Breaks

All employees are entitled to food and rest breaks under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Employers must allow all employees at least one half-hour for food and rest after every five consecutive hours of work.

You can find out more about health and safety rules and regulations on the WorksSafeNB website or by calling:

1-800-222-9775 (toll-free)

506-632-2200 (outside of Canada)


New Brunswick has a minimum overtime wage rate. Employers must pay their employees at least one and one-half times the minimum wage for each hour they work in excess of 44 hours during a work week.

Employers have the right to require you to work overtime. However, employers must compensate you for all overtime hours worked at the minimum overtime wage rate. Banking of hours is not permitted.

Minimum Wage

New Brunswick has a minimum wage rate employers must pay their employees for each hour worked.

All employees paid by salary, commission, and for piece work must receive at least minimum wage for every hour worked.

In addition to the general minimum wage rate, there are special minimum wage rates for:

  • certain categories of employees in government construction work (road, bridge, and building construction) and;
  • counsellors and program staff at residential summer camps.

To obtain the current minimum wage rate, please visit the Employment Standards Branch of the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour or call:


1-888-452-2687 (toll-free in New Brunswick)

Paid Public Holidays

New Brunswick has seven paid public holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Canada Day
  • New Brunswick Day
  • Labour Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day

Vacation Time

Employers are required to give all their employees an annual vacation leave with vacation pay dependent on each employee’s years of service.

An employee who has fewer than eight years of employment with the employer is entitled to a vacation that is at minimum equal to two regular work weeks or one day for each calendar month during the vacation pay year in which the employee worked, whichever is less.

An employee who has eight or more years of continuous employment with the employer is entitled to receive a vacation that is at minimum equal to three regular work weeks or one and one-quarter days for each calendar month during the vacation pay year in which the employee worked, whichever is less.

Vacation Pay

An employee with fewer than eight years of employment with the employer is entitled to receive vacation pay equal to four percent of their gross wages (before deductions).

An employee with eight or more years of employment with the employer is entitled to receive vacation pay equal to six percent of their gross wages (before deductions).

Leave Information

As a temporary foreign worker in New Brunswick, you may be eligible to receive maternity leave, childcare leave, family responsibility leave, compassionate care leave, bereavement leave and/or sick leave.

For more information, please visit the Employment Standards Branch of the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour or call:


1-888-452-2687 (toll-free in New Brunswick)

Payment of Wages

When employment ceases, all pay (vacation pay, regular wages, overtime pay, and public holiday pay) normally due on the next regular pay day must be paid to you at that time. All other outstanding pay, commissions, and other benefits must be paid no later than 21 calendar days after your last day of employment, depending upon the employment contract.

Filing a Complaint

In New Brunswick, employers cannot dismiss, suspend, lay off, penalize, discipline, or discriminate against an employee for making a complaint or giving information against the employer with respect to the Employment Standards Act.

Furthermore, employers and/or their agents are prohibited from:

  • requiring foreign workers to use and pay an immigration consultant;
  • recovering ineligible recruitment and transportation costs from the foreign worker;
  • misrepresenting employment opportunities;
  • supplying false information about employer and employee rights and responsibilities;
  • preventing workers to vacate employer-provided accommodations for private accommodations;
  • reducing wages or changing any other terms or conditions of employment undertaken in the recruitment of a foreign worker;
  • threatening deportation; and
  • taking possession of a foreign worker’s identity documents (e.g., passport) and work permit.

To file a complaint, please visit the Employment Standards Branch of the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour or call:


1-888-452-2687 (toll-free in New Brunswick)

Workplace Health and Safety

The Occupational Health and Safety Act protects and promotes the health and safety of workers in New Brunswick. The act also outlines the responsibilities of all New Brunswick employers and employees.

Employees’ Rights and Responsibilities

New Brunswick employees have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employees to work in a healthy and safe manner and to cooperate with their employers by following the health and safety rules of the work site.

There are specific health and safety requirements all employees must follow. For example, employees may be required to use a safety harness or similar equipment when doing specific types of work. Some employees may also need to use personal protective equipment such as safety boots, safety glasses, earplugs, or a hard hat.

You are responsible for following all workplace health and safety rules and asking questions if you don’t understand something.

It is against the law for anyone to force you to do work you think is unsafe. If you’re asked to perform an action, and you have reason to believe that this action is likely to endanger you or a co-worker’s health or safety, you have the right to refuse. Employers cannot terminate an employee because they refuse to work in dangerous conditions.

If you have concerns about your workplace or need help, contact WorksSafeNB by calling:

1-800-222-9775 (toll-free)

506-632-2200 (outside of Canada)

Employers’ Responsibilities

Employers have a duty to monitor their employees’ health and safety in the workplace. Every employer in New Brunswick is responsible for ensuring the workplace is inspected at least once a month and for identifying any risks to the health and safety of their employees. If a risk is identified, the hazards must be removed or controlled immediately; this may involve changes in equipment or require new rules and procedures for workers to do their job as safely as possible. Any new information must be shared promptly with all workers.

Employers must:

  • ensure employees have the training, qualifications, and experience necessary to do their job;
  • inform employees about all health and safety hazards on the job site;
  • ensure employees have all the tools, equipment, and personal protective equipment necessary to do their job safely;
  • ensure employees know how to use equipment on the worksite;
  • train employees how to handle dangerous products safely;
  • post a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations in a prominent place visible to workers; and,
  • investigate any incidents that cause injury, or incidents that could have caused injury.

You’re encouraged to learn more about your rights and responsibilities at WorksSafeNB.

Workers’ Compensation

WorksSafeNB is an organization that assists employees injured at work. Temporary foreign workers are considered the same as other workers in New Brunswick. If any employer is covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, a temporary foreign worker’s coverage begins as soon as they arrive in New Brunswick and begin working. Temporary foreign workers should ask their employer if they have workers’ compensation coverage.

In the event of an accident, injury, or occupational disease at work, employees must immediately:

  • report the accident to their employer before leaving work, if possible;
  • find medical treatment, if required, and advise the doctor that this is a work-related injury so that the medical reports can be forwarded to WorkSafeNB as soon as possible; and
  • complete a report of the accident even if the employee does not require medical attention.

The employer and the employee must complete an accident report and ensure that the report is forwarded to WorkSafeNB (fill out Form 67 – Report of Accident or Occupational Disease). If there is disagreement between the employer and employee, they must still complete an accident report and forward it to WorkSafeNB immediately.

Please Note: employers and employees cannot agree not to report the accident. All accidents must be reported to WorkSafeNB. Required forms are available at the WorkSafeNB office or online here.

Employers should explain employees’ job duties, working conditions, and their responsibilities for safe work practices. In addition, employees should know how WorkSafeNB works and the process for filing a claim. If an employee is injured at work, they may be eligible to receive benefits.

If a temporary foreign worker can do light duties (modified work) and their work permit allows it, an employer can assign light duties in the event of an injury. This will help workers remain working while they recover.

If possible, employers are asked to include a modified work option in their initial work permit application.

For more information, visit the WorksSafeNB website or call:

1-800-222-9775 (toll-free)

506-632-2200 (outside of Canada)

First-Day Checklist for Temporary Foreign Workers

Review your work permit for validity and accuracy – double check employer name, location of employment, occupation, employee name, and date of birth.

My workday:
  • What are my daily hours?
  • What are my regular workdays?
  • Should I be at work earlier than the start of the shift? How much time is appropriate?
  • How long is my lunch break?
  • Is my lunch break paid?
  • Do I get any other breaks? Coffee breaks?
  • How many hours do I have to work in a week before I am eligible for overtime?
  • How much overtime is required?
  • What is my overtime rate?
  • Will my employer provide transportation to and from work?
Pay and benefits:
  • How will I receive my pay?
  • How often will I be paid?
  • Do I receive health benefits, a pension, or union membership?
  • How much will these benefits cost?
  • Will someone review the deductions from my pay cheque with me?
  • Will I be paid for travel to and from work?
  • Will I be paid a bonus? What do I have to do to earn it? How much will it be?
Taking time off:
  • Do I get paid vacation time, or is my vacation pay deducted from my pay cheque over the year?
  • How is my vacation time/pay calculated?
  • What happens if I am sick? Whom do I contact? What is my responsibility?
  • Do I get paid sick days?
  • Am I allowed to schedule unpaid time off?
Health and safety questions:
  • What are the risks and dangers of my job?
  • What other hazards should I know about my workplace?
  • When will I receive job training?
  • Is there any health and safety information available for me?
  • Are there health and safety meetings?
  • Where are the first aid kits and fire extinguishers located?
  • What do I do if there is a fire or other emergency?
  • Whom do I see if I get hurt at work?
  • What are my health and safety responsibilities?
  • What are my employer’s health and safety responsibilities?
  • With whom should I talk if I have a health and safety question?

Get in touch

Let us know your questions and we’ll get back to you with answers.

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