Employee turnover is an inevitable part of every business.
The employment relationship between an employer and employee ends when:
- the employer terminates the employee, or
- the employee quits or retires.
What are your obligations when an employee leaves?
Upon the termination of employment, employers are typically obligated to pay the terminated employee their final pay, prepare a T4 slip and complete a Record of Employment (ROE).
When it comes to the final pay or termination pay, there is a “reasonable time period” for employers to administer the payment after the employee is terminated. However, this “reasonable time period” tends to vary for each province in Canada.
If you're a small business owner with employees based in different provinces across Canada, it is important for you to adhere to the final pay deadlines determined by the provincial employment standards to avoid any legal allegations or fines. Learn about the final pay deadlines for each province in Canada.
Final pay deadlines for each province in Canada
Final wages deadline in British Columbia
When the employer ends the employment:
For involuntary terminations, final wages* must be paid within 48 hours after the last day a terminated employee works.
Example: If Jane’s last day was on at 4pm on a Friday, her final wages must be paid by 4pm on the following Sunday.
When the employee quits:
For voluntary terminations, final wages* must be paid to the employee within 6 days after the employee’s last day of work.
Example: If Jane’s last day was on at 4pm on a Friday, her final wages must be paid by 4pm on the following Thursday.
Final earnings deadline in Alberta
When proper notice of termination is given:
The employee’s earnings must be paid within 3 days after their last day of employment, regardless of whether the employee quits or the employer terminates their employment.
Example: John quit and gave his employer proper termination notice. His last day of employment is on Tuesday, therefore he should receive his final earnings by Friday.
When proper notice of termination is not given:
If the employee fails to give the required notice before ending their employment, the employer must pay the employee within 10 days after the date on which the notice would have expired.
Example: John had been working at Alberta Consulting for 3 year. He decided to quit on September 6th but failed to give his employer proper termination notice. If he had given proper notice, that notice would have expired after 2 weeks on September 20th. Therefore, his final wages should be paid to him by September 30th.
Earnings in Alberta include all wages owed such as overtime pay, annual vacation pay, statutory holiday pay, and termination pay.
Termination pay deadline in Ontario
In Ontario, employers must pay an employee their termination pay (including severance) either 7 days after the employee’s employment is terminated OR on the employee’s next regular pay date, whichever is later.
Example: Jane was terminated by her employer and her last day of work is on June 1st. She should get paid her final wages on her regular pay date on June 14th.
Termination pay is defined as the lump sum payment equal to the regular wages for a regular work week that an employee would otherwise have been entitled to during the written notice period, including vacation pay.
Final wages deadline in Manitoba
In Manitoba, employers must pay out all wages the employee has earned up until the last day worked. Employers must pay employees all earned wages within 10 business days of the last day of work.
Example: If John’s last day of work was on August 5th, he must receive his final wages owed to him by August 19th.
Final wages deadline in Saskatchewan
In Saskatchewan, the employer must pay all final wages owing to the employee (including vacation pay, statutory holiday pay and any pay instead of notice) within 14 days of the termination date. If a payday falls within the 14-day period, the employer must provide an employee's pay on that day.
Example: If Jane’s last day of work was on March 1st and her next regular payday falls on March 8th (within the 14-day period), she must receive her final wages on March 8th.
Final pay deadline in Prince Edward Island (PEI)
In PEI, all wages that the employee is entitled to on their termination day must be paid no later than the last day of the next pay period after the termination of employment.
Example: John’s last day of work is October 15th, the end of the current pay period. The next pay period ends on October 31st, so he must be paid his final wages no later than October 31st.
Final pay deadline in New Brunswick
In New Brunswick, all wages that are normally due on the next regular payday must be paid on the employee’s last day of employment.
All other outstanding wages, commissions, vacation pay, and other benefits must be paid on the following payday but no later than 21 calendar days after the employee’s last day of employment.
Example: Jane’s last day of work was on July 5th. Therefore, she must receive her wages on July 5th. Her outstanding vacation pay must be paid to her on the next regular payday, and no later than July 26th.
Final pay deadline in Newfoundland and Labrador
In Newfoundland and Labrador, a terminated employee must be paid all wages and vacation pay owing and pay in lieu of notice (if applicable) within 1 week from the date of termination.
Example: John’s last day of work was on Monday, which means he must be paid his final wages by the Monday of the following week.
Final pay deadline in Nova Scotia
All wages owed to an employee is due within 5 working days after the expiration of the pay period in which the termination occurred (generally the employee’s regular payday).
If the employer does not want to give the employee notice:
The employer must give the employee pay in lieu of (in place of) notice. This means that the employer must pay the employee as much pay as they would receive if that employee worked during the notice period.
In Nova Scotia, pay in lieu of notice is due as one lump sum, within 5 working days after the expiration of the pay period in which the termination occurred (generally the employee’s regular pay day).
Example: Jane’s last day of work was on April 22nd, and the regular pay period ends on April 30th. She must be paid all wages owed to her by May 5th.
Final pay deadline in Yukon
In Yukon, all wages including vacation pay, but not including pay in lieu of notice must be paid to an employee within 7 calendar days from the date of termination.
Pay in lieu of notice can be paid to the employee by instalments of the same amount which would have been paid to the employee had they been allowed to work out the notice period.
Example: John worked at Yukon Miners for 2 years and was terminated by his employer on June 6th. Therefore, his wages should be paid to him by June 13th. He will also receive pay in lieu of notice instead of working the 2 week notice period. This can be paid in instalments until the last day of the notice period on June 20th.
Final wages deadline in Northwest Territories
In Northwest Territories, all wages earned including any accured wages, outstanding vacation pay and lieu time must be paid to the employee within 10 calendar days after the employee’s last day of work.
Example: Jane’s last day of work was on February 6th, therefore her final wages are due to her by February 16th.
Final pay deadline in Québec
In Québec, the employee’s final wages are due on the date of termination, which means the employee must receive their final wages on their last day of work.
However, the Act also permits employers to pay the employee the final pay on the following regular pay date of the pay period in which the termination falls.
Example: John quit his job and his last day of work was on March 1st, which means he can either be paid his final wages on March 1st or on the next regular pay date.
Final pay deadline in Nunavut
In Nunavut, employers are required to pay the employee all wages earned within 10 days after the date of termination.
Example: If Jane’s last day of work was on October 3rd, she must be paid her final wages by October 13th.
Termination pay deadlines can be confusing - especially if you have employees based in different provinces across Canada. We can help! At Enkel, our dedicated back-office team can take the guesswork out of payroll and ensure your employees are paid accurately and on time.