Athletes to be Exempt from Some Provisions of Labour Standards Code

Athletes playing on Nova Scotia-based teams are exempt from parts of the Labour Standards Code after changes made today, July 4.

Changes to the General Labour Standards Code Regulations and the Minimum Wage Order apply to all athletes who meet the definition of an employee. The amendments recognize the uniqueness of the sport world and other ways players are compensated, such as per diem, training costs and supplied equipment.

“These changes strike a balance,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “They continue to provide protection for important issues like discrimination, while allowing for alternate ways of compensation.”

Two other provinces have made changes to their labour standards to address this issue. There are also some types of work in Nova Scotia that are already exempt from similar sections of the code. For example, salespeople who receive part, or all, of their compensation as commission.

“There are teams that are a source of pride in communities from one end of the province to another and, for some young people, a start to a career in sports,” said Bobby Smith, majority owner and president of the Halifax Mooseheads. “Paying minimum wage for all the athletes’ time, including practice or travel, would make it difficult for teams to operate. We want to ensure our athletes continue to have opportunities to develop athletically and play sports for Nova Scotia-based teams.”

Athletes who meet the definition of employee will continue to receive:
–- employee protection against discrimination
— equal pay for men and women
— leave of absence protections
— child protections
— foreign worker protections

Athletes will be exempt from regulations regarding:
— vacation and holiday pay
— minimum wage
— defined hours of work
— protections around the termination of employment

The proposed changes take effect immediately.

Source: Release

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