Termination of employment in Nova Scotia 

As an employer in Nova Scotia, it’s unfortunate when you are forced to terminate an employee. However, when doing so, it’s essential that you remain compliant with Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Code to stay compliant and protected from Wrongful Dismissal claims, as well as potential fines. In order to do so, it’s essential you provide the terminated employee with the entitlements they are owed in accordance with the LSC.    

What is Termination Notice?  

In Nova Scotia, if an employee is terminated without cause, they are not entitled to a reason for the dismissal. However, they are entitled to written, reasonable notice of termination if they have been working for a company for more than three months. The amount of notice the employee is entitled to is based on their length of employment. In Nova Scotia, if an employee has worked for an employer for more than 3 months, the employee is required to provide notice as well.  

The chart below should provide guidance on how much notice an employee would be owed based on their length of employment.  

Employment Period

The employer must give 

3 months or more but less than 2 years 

1 week 

2 years or more but less than 5 years 

2 weeks 

5 years or more but less than10 years 

4 weeks 

10 years or more 

8 weeks 

When an employer provides notice, they may not:  

  • Change the employee’s rate of pay or their access to benefits 
  • Require employee’s use remaining vacation during the notice period – unless 
    the employee agrees 
  • Pay accumulated vacation pay within 10 days of the end of employment 

The employer must also pay the employee all the wages they are entitled to within 5 days of the end of the pay period. 

Employees who have served 10 or more years  

There are specific requirements if an employee has worked for a company for ten years or more. The LSC dictates that an employee who has served ten or more years cannot be fired or suspended without good cause or reason. 

The employer is required to:   

  • Make their expectations clear to the employee.  
  • Provide a warning to the employee that a change in behaviour needs to occur.   
  • Give the employee a reasonable chance to their change behaviour.   
  • Inform the employee that continuation of this behaviour may lead to termination.   

If an employee who has served ten years or more is found to wrongfully dismissed, the LSC may require the employer rehires the employee. If the employee does not wish to return, they may be offered pay in lieu of reasonable notice. The amount can be more than the 8 weeks’ statutory notice required for an employee with 10 or more years of service. 

Instances where these entitlements do not apply include:  

  • There is an unforeseen lack of work the employer could not have prevented.  
  • The employee is offered alternative reasonable employment.   
  • The employee has reached the age of retirement – based on a bona fide occupational requirement.   


Some employees in certain industries and in certain sectors are exempt from these entitlements in regard to terminations.  

These include:  

  • Those employed in the construction industry 
  • Real estate agents and car sales people, and commissioned salespeople who work outside the employer’s place of business 
  • Those who work on a fishing boat 
  • Practitioners or students in training for architecture, dentistry, law, medicine, 
    chiropody, professional engineering, public or chartered accounting, psychology, 
    surveying, veterinary science, optometry, or pharmacy  
  • Athletes participating in activities related to their athletic discipline  
  • Those who work under a collective agreement 
  • Those who provide personal care to an immediate family member in a private residence.  
  • Employees who provide a domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and work for the house owner for 24 hours or less per week. 

Still need help?  

If you need help understanding terminations in Nova Scotia, Employer Line is here to help. Call today at 1-888-219-8767 and an expert will be happy to walk you through it.