Employers and workers now have quick and easy access to commonlyrequested information about laws affecting their workplaces. Fournew labour standards guides are now available on the Environmentand Labour website. “Posting these guides gives businesses and their employees mucheasier access to information on the Labour Standards Code andtheir rights under the code,” said Environment and LabourMinister Kerry Morash. Four plain-language brochures were produced – Labour Standards:An Overview, How to File a Labour Standards Complaint, Respondingto a Director’s Order and How to Appeal a Decision of the LabourStandards Division. A complete plain-language guide to the Labour Standards Code isalso available online. The code establishes provisions foremployment standards, such as minimum wage, vacation and specialleave, designated holidays and termination procedures. The LabourStandards Code applies to all Nova Scotia workplaces, unless theworkplace has established its own standards through a collectiveagreement. Inquiries about rights and responsibilities in the workplace arecommon. In 2003-04, the department received about 41,000 queriesby phone, representing an increase of about 18 per cent from theprevious year. E-mail inquires saw the greatest increase. Theywere up 80 per cent from the previous year, from 483 to 866. During the same time period, the department also reduced itsbacklog of complaints on workplace rights and labour standards.As of June 2004, the backlog of complaints dropped to less than100, down from 800 in August 2003. Customer service has improveddramatically and will continue to improve in 2004. “We’re really encouraged by the progress we’ve made so far, andare working hard to continue to improve access to services foremployers and employees,” said Mary Belliveau, director of LabourStandards. During 2003 the department implemented many improvements to theLabour Standards Code. It increased the minimum wage twice, toreach par with all other Atlantic provinces, and improvedstandards for overtime and vacation benefits, among otherchanges. By improving online access to the division’s many publications,the department is also providing employers and employees withconvenient, responsive and accessible information. The new brochures can be viewed online atwww.gov.ns.ca/enla/labstand .