HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's largest public sector union is delaying a vote on a tentative contract with the province after teachers rejected their agreement.

Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said Wednesday the ratification vote that was scheduled for this week won't be held until the bargaining committee consults with union members.

Jessome said a pause is the responsible course of action in light of developments with the teachers.

"Circumstances have changed . . . and we have to go back and make sure that everybody still is on the same page," said Jessome.

Jessome said she recommended acceptance of the deal reached last month because she believed the government would legislate a settlement otherwise.

"The whole idea of that offer we got was that the teachers had gotten it first," she said. "They (the teacher's union) were recommending it and it was expected to pass and that there was going to be legislation if it didn't."

Jessome said her union now wants to see how the government reacts to the decision by the teachers before going ahead with its vote.

The government said it would take the next several days to consider its options.

The province's 9,000 teachers turned down the tentative contract Tuesday. It offered a wage increase of three per cent over four years, but also included a wage freeze in the first two years.

The NSGEU's deal also includes a wage freeze in first two years, a one per cent raise in the third year, 1.5 per cent on the first day of the fourth year and 0.5 per cent on the last day of the fourth year.

The tentative deal would apply to 7,600 members of the civil service, including sheriffs' deputies, correctional officers, administrative personnel, social workers and probation officers.