Civil service employees on P.E.I. have voted in favour of a new contract with the province, which includes a clause that would prevent any layoffs of permanent employees before March 31, 2016.

P.E.I. Union of Public Sector Employees president Debbie Bovyer told CBC News Thursday 79 per cent voted in favour of the new agreement. The contract covers workers from government departments, employees of the Workers Compensation Board and the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, a total of 2,600 government employees.

Total wage increases will be 9.5 per cent over the five-year life of the contract. Most of that pay raise comes towards the end of the contract, with a six per cent increase in the last two years.

Bovyer said it's a strong agreement given the current fiscal restraint of government.