Termination of employment in New Brunswick 

As an employer in New Brunswick, it’s unfortunate when you are forced to terminate an employee. However, when doing so, it’s essential that you remain compliant with New Brunswick’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) 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 ESA. 

Terminations for cause & without cause 

 In New Brunswick, there are two forms of terminations:   

  • Terminations for cause   
  • Terminations without cause  

A termination for cause occurs when an employer provides specific reason(s) for the termination. The ESA does not outline rules for this. However, the Labour and Employment Board has outlined criteria for this and the reasons you provide must meet said criteria.  

Terminations without cause are the most common form of terminations in New Brunswick. According to the Employment Standards Act, employers are not required to provide a reason for letting an employee go. However, in these cases, employees are entitled to either a Termination Notice or pay in lieu of notice. If an employee had worked for the employer for more than six months, they entitled to the wages they would have received through the notice period.       

What is termination notice and pay? 

Termination Notice is written, reasonable notice of termination which includes an official termination date. In New Brunswick, if an employee has worked for an employer for less than six months, they are not required to provide advance notice of termination. However, employees who have worked for a company for six months or more, are entitled to this benefit. In the latter case, the employee is entitled to at least six weeks notice. If an employee has worked for the company for five years or more, they are entitled to four weeks notice.  

An employer can opt to provide Termination Pay In lieu of notice. This option is ideal for those who do not want the employee working through the notice period and would prefer to sever ties. 

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

Period of employment  

Layoff or termination  

Less than 6 months  

No notice required  

More than 6 months, less than five years 

2 weeks notice in writing or 2 weeks pay  

5 years or more 

4 weeks notice in writing or 4 weeks pay 

There are certain instances where an employer is not required to provide Termination Notice or Pay.  

Such as:  

  • An employee’s contract period (not exceeding 12 months) has passed and not been extended or transitioned into full time employment. 
  • A term of employment has come to an end fixed in the employment contract – unless the employee has already completed another three months of employment since this point. 
  • The employee retires under a established retirement plan 
  • The employee works in the construction industry and completes construction work. 
  • The termination or layoff is the result of normal seasonal work reduction, or closure. 
  • An employee refuses reasonable alternative employment. 

Still need help? 

If you need help understanding terminations in Nova Scotia, Employer Line is here to help. Call today at 1-506-388-6899 and an expert will be happy to walk you through it.