**Updated** Nova Scotia accepts arbitrator's decision for wage hikes for civil servants

**Updated at 12:45 p.m.**

The Nova Scotia government says it will accept an arbitrator's decision to give civil servants in the largest public sector union a seven-per-cent wage increase under a six-year deal.

The new deal allows for increases of zero per cent in 2015-16, one per cent as of April 1 this year, 1.5 per cent as of next April 1, and half a per cent on March 31, 2019.

It then allows for wage hikes of 1.5 per cent effective April 1, 2019, and a further half per cent at the end of the fiscal year 2019-20, and then repeats that pattern in 2020-21.

The province's original stance had been it could only afford a smaller increase over four years for members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union.

Employees will have the option of an immediate payout of their so-called public service award, accrued up to March 31, 2015, before the end of the next fiscal year.

They may also receive a payout on death or retirement.

The workers involved are employed across a range of government services including Service Nova Scotia, corrections, child welfare, the courts, and health and safety.