Employment Standards in Alberta

Managing a business is a diverse task, which includes dealing, and maintaining a beneficial relationship, with employees. The province of Alberta has well-defined and strict regulations about employment standards. As an employer, you are required to comply with the Employment Standards Code of Alberta, or you will be held liable for violation. As an employee, you are entitled to certain rights and provisions, and have the freedom to litigate to resolve a dispute.

The purpose for the Code is straightforward: it acknowledges that,

‘… it is fitting that the worth and dignity of all Albertans be recognized by the Legislature of Alberta through legislation that encourages fair and equitable resolution of matters arising over terms and conditions of employment…’

  • Record Maintenance

First of all, you need to maintain a record of all your employees. This record should include their timesheet, pay and other accrual details.

  • Work Hours

Hours of work include time off with pay, but not overtime and its pay. Unless the Director of Employment Standards issues a permit, an employee can only work for a maximum of 12 hours a day. In a shift longer than 5 consecutive hours, the employee is entitled for a break of at least 30 minutes. She is also entitled to certain minimum rest days. For example, 1 day of rest is mandated in 1 work week.

  • Earnings

An employer has to pay her employees at least once a month. The means of payment can be cash, cheque, money order or a direct deposit into an account chosen by the employee in a recognised financial institution.

The Code makes provisions for deductions that can be made from the pay, namely for Income Tax, the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance, as well as deductions because of a court order or judgement.

  • Minimum Wage in Alberta

As for now, the minimum hourly wage for most employees is $ 11.20, whereas it is $ 10.70 for employees whose job involves serving liquor. This difference will be eliminated in 2016. Additionally, the Government of Alberta is striving to increase the minimum hourly wage to $ 15 by 2018.

  • Vacation and Vacation Pay

The purpose of including this in the Code is to ensure that employees get a break from work every year without losing any income. For the first 4 years, 2 weeks with pay is mandated. After 4 consecutive years of employment, 3 weeks with pay is mandated.

  • Maternity / Parental Leave

Maternity or parental leave in Alberta is unpaid, but job protection is provided. Birth mothers can take up to 52 consecutive weeks of leave, made up of 15 weeks of maternity leave and 37 weeks of parental leave. Fathers and / or adoptive parents can take up to 37 weeks of parental leave. This leave is valid regardless of the age of the adopted child.

To be eligible for maternity / parental leave, an employee, full-time or part-time, must be employed with an employer for 52 consecutive weeks.

  • Termination and Termination Pay

Both the employee and the employer have the right to terminate employment, but a notice has to be given to the other party first. However, there are exceptions. When just cause exists for the termination of an employee’s employment, or when there is risk to the personal health or safety of the employee, a termination notice can be forgone.

A good employer – employee relationship is vital to the success of the organisation. Ensure you follow all the standards set down by the Government of Alberta for a professional and prosperous experience.