The Alberta Employment Standards Code is a set of laws that outlines the minimum standards for employment in the province of Alberta, Canada.
It covers a wide range of topics, such as hours of work, overtime, vacation pay, general holidays, and termination of employment, among others.
The purpose of the code is to establish fair and consistent standards for employers and employees in the province, ensuring that every worker is treated fairly and receives basic rights and protections.
The Alberta Employment Standards Code is important because it provides a framework for the employer-employee relationship, setting out clear expectations and guidelines for both parties. Employers are required to comply with the code, and employees are entitled to certain rights and protections under it. This helps to ensure that workplaces are safe, fair, and equitable, and that employees are treated with respect and dignity.
If you believe that your employment rights have been violated in Alberta, an employment attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can advise you on whether you have a case for discrimination, harassment, or wrongful dismissal, and can help you pursue legal action if necessary. An employment attorney can also negotiate on your behalf with your employer to reach a resolution without going to court, or represent you in court if your case goes to trial. With their legal expertise and experience, an employment attorney can help you protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.
Who is not covered by the Alberta Employment Standards Code?
In Alberta, the vast majority of workers are protected by the Employment Standards Code, which sets out minimum employment standards. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Below are some examples of workers who may not be covered by the Code:
- Federal government employees: Workers employed by the federal government fall under the Canada Labour Code, which outlines their minimum employment standards.
- Self-employed individuals: If you’re self-employed and own your own business, you aren’t considered an employee and thus aren’t covered by the Employment Standards Code.
- Professionals and managers: Certain employees, such as doctors, lawyers, managers, and supervisors with significant decision-making authority, may be exempt from certain provisions of the Code, such as those related to hours of work or overtime pay.
- Independent contractors: Independent contractors, as opposed to employees, aren’t covered by the Employment Standards Code. This can be a complex area, so it’s important to ensure that your classification is accurate.
- Some agricultural workers: While most agricultural workers in Alberta are covered by the Employment Standards Code, some may be exempt, such as those who work on small family farms or those employed in certain specialized roles.
It’s worth noting that just because an employee isn’t covered by the Employment Standards Code doesn’t mean they’re without legal protections. Other laws and regulations may apply to their specific employment situation, and all workers are entitled to basic human rights and protections under Canadian law.
What are some major areas of employment covered under the Alberta Employment Standards Code?
The Alberta Employment Standards Code is a comprehensive set of regulations that sets minimum standards for employers and employees in the province. It covers a broad range of employment areas. Some of the key areas covered under the code are:
- Hours of work: The Code specifies the maximum daily and weekly hours of work, rest periods, and breaks during shifts. It also includes requirements for overtime pay and compensatory time off.
- Wages and pay: The Code establishes minimum wage rates, rules for pay periods and statements, and requirements for deductions from employees’ pay. It also sets out rules for vacation pay, holiday pay, and termination pay.
- General holidays: The Code sets out rules for recognizing and compensating employees for general holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day. This includes entitlements to days off work or premium pay for working on a holiday.
- Termination and layoffs: The Code outlines the rules for ending an employment relationship, including requirements for notice or pay in lieu of notice, severance pay, and the continuation of benefits.
- Maternity and parental leave: The Code provides protections for employees who are pregnant or caring for a newborn or newly adopted child, including rules for job-protected leave and continuation of benefits.
- Rest periods and breaks: The Code requires employers to provide employees with rest periods and breaks during their work shifts, including meal breaks and rest periods.
- Deductions: The Code establishes rules for the types of deductions that employers can make from employees’ pay, including deductions for taxes, benefits, and other authorized reasons.
These are just some of the major areas of employment that are covered under the Alberta Employment Standards Code. The code is an essential resource for employers and employees alike, providing a framework for fair and consistent standards in the workplace.
What is minimum wage in Alberta?
As of October 1, 2021, most employees in Alberta are entitled to a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour, regardless of their payment structure, whether hourly, salaried, or commission-based, and regardless of the industry they work in. However, there are certain exceptions to the standard minimum wage rate.
For instance, employees who serve liquor as part of their duties are eligible for a lower minimum wage of $13.00 per hour, as tips are expected to contribute to their compensation. Similarly, employees who are under 18 years of age and work part-time can receive a lower minimum wage of $13.00 per hour for the first 28 hours they work each week.
What is the 3-hour minimum rule in Alberta?
In Alberta, the 3-hour minimum rule is a regulation within the Alberta Employment Standards Code that guarantees employees a minimum of three hours of pay if they are scheduled to work longer but are sent home early. If an employee arrives for a scheduled shift but is sent home before completing three hours of work, the employer is still obligated to pay them for the full three hours at their usual rate of pay.
This applies to most employees in Alberta, including those who work part-time or on a casual basis. However, there are some exceptions to the rule, such as when an employee is unable to work due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond their employer’s control, or for certain types of employment like live-in caregivers.
The 3-hour minimum rule is intended to protect employees from income loss and financial instability in cases where their employer sends them home early. Employers are expected to comply with this provision of the Employment Standards Code and ensure that their employees are paid for a minimum of three hours of work if they are scheduled to work longer but are sent home early.
What are allowable deductions from employee wages?
The Alberta Employment Standards Code permits employers to make deductions from employees’ wages under certain conditions. These allowable deductions comprise:
- Statutory deductions
- Benefit plans
- Union dues
- Court-ordered deductions It’s essential to keep in mind that employers cannot
make deductions for certain things such as uniforms, tools, or damages to employer property unless the employee agrees to it in writing, and it is reasonable. Moreover, employers are not allowed to make deductions for items such as cash shortages or damage to customer property, even with the employee’s approval.
Are any occupations exempt from minimum wage standards?
In Alberta, most occupations are subject to the minimum wage standards set out in the Employment Standards Code. However, there are some exemptions to the minimum wage requirements for certain groups of workers. These exemptions include:
- Salespeople who work on a commission basis and earn more than 50% of their income from commission sales.
- Part-time students who are enrolled in a post-secondary institution and working part-time in a program related to their field of study may be paid a minimum wage of $13.00 per hour for their first 28 hours of work in a week.
- Liquor servers, who are entitled to a lower minimum wage of $13.00 per hour, as they are expected to receive tips as part of their compensation.
- Live-in caregivers who live with their employer and provide care to the employer or the employer’s family members.
It is important to note that even if an employee is exempt from the minimum wage requirements, they are still entitled to the other provisions of the Employment Standards Code, such as overtime pay, vacation pay, and general holidays.
Are all employees entitled to statutory holiday pay in Alberta?
In Alberta, most employees are entitled to statutory holiday pay under the Employment Standards Code, subject to certain requirements.
Under the Code, employees are entitled to receive pay for general holidays if they have worked for the same employer for at least 30 working days in the 12 months preceding the general holiday. The pay for the general holiday is equivalent to either:
- The average daily wage earned by the employee in the last four weeks before the holiday; or
- The employee’s wage for the day on which the holiday falls.
If an employee is required to work on a general holiday, they are entitled to either:
- Their regular wage for the day, plus time and a half for the hours worked; or
- Double their regular wage for the hours worked.
There are some exceptions to these general rules. For example, certain employees who work in essential services, such as hospitals, emergency services, and utilities, may be required to work on general holidays and may not be entitled to holiday pay. Additionally, employees who work in industries that are exempt from the Employment Standards Code, such as federal employees or employees in certain industries regulated by the federal government, may not be entitled to statutory holiday pay.
What are job-protected leaves of absence?
The Alberta Employment Standards Code provides for several job-protected leaves of absence that employees may be entitled to take, subject to certain requirements. The job-protected leaves of absence in Alberta include:
PERSONAL AND FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY LEAVE
COMPASSIONATE CARE LEAVE
MATERNITY AND PARENTAL LEAVE
LONG-TERM ILLNESS AND INJURY LEAVE
CRITICAL ILLNESS LEAVE
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE
DEATH OR DISAPPEARANCE OF CHILD LEAVE
This type of protected leave allows eligible employees to take time off work to deal with the death or disappearance of a child. The leave provides job protection for a period of up to 52 weeks in a 104-week period.
It’s important to note that employees who take a job-protected leave of absence are entitled to return to their job or a comparable job with the same employer once their leave has ended. Employers are required to comply with the requirements of the Employment Standards Code and to provide employees with the time off they are entitled to take under these job-protected leaves. Employees who feel their rights have been violated may seek advice from the Alberta Employment Standards Branch or a lawyer.
How many sick days do you get in Alberta?
In Alberta, there is no legislated minimum requirement for sick days or personal days. This means that employers are not required to provide a specific number of sick days to their employees. However, employers must provide their employees with job-protected leaves of absence for certain types of situations, such as illness or injury, bereavement, and family responsibilities, as required by the Employment Standards Code in Alberta.
Although sick days are not a mandatory benefit, some employers may offer them as part of their employee benefits package or employment contract. The number of sick days an employee may receive can vary depending on the employer, the length of service, and the specific terms of the employment agreement.
It’s important for employees to review their employment contract or speak with their employer to understand their sick leave entitlements and any other benefits they may be eligible for.
What is the time period within which employers in Alberta must pay employees after termination?
According to the Employment Standards Code in Alberta, employers are required to pay their employees within 10 consecutive days after the end of the pay period in which the employee’s employment was terminated. The pay period is the time period for which the employee’s wages are calculated and paid, usually biweekly or monthly.
For example: If an employee’s employment is terminated on April 15th and their regular pay period ends on April 30th, the employer must pay all owed wages by May 10th.
It’s important to keep in mind that this 10-day period is the minimum standard and some employers may have their own policies that require earlier payment. Employees should review their employment contract or speak with their employer to understand their specific payment requirements and timelines.
If an employer fails to pay an employee the wages owed within the specified time period, the employee can file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch, which is responsible for enforcing employment standards in Alberta.
What are the Alberta employment standards rules on deductions from employee earnings?
Employers in Alberta must follow the Employment Standards Code when making deductions from employee earnings. The Code outlines the types of deductions that are allowed and the circumstances in which they can be made.
Here are some key rules to keep in mind:
- Deductions must be authorized in writing by the employee and be for a lawful purpose, such as taxes or court-ordered deductions.
- Employers cannot make deductions for items that are for their benefit, such as uniforms or training costs, unless the employee has agreed to the deduction in writing.
- Employers cannot deduct wages for shortages, breakage, or loss of equipment or property unless the loss was caused by the employee’s willful misconduct or negligence.
- Deductions cannot reduce an employee’s pay below minimum wage.
- Employers must provide employees with a statement of earnings that includes all deductions made from their pay and the reason for each deduction.
Employees should review their pay stubs and earnings statements regularly to ensure that they understand the deductions being made. If an employee suspects that an unauthorized deduction has been made, they can file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch for investigation.
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We also have a dedicated intake form to help you get the ball rolling. Our intake team will review your specific case and advise you on the next steps to take as well as what to expect moving forward.
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Whitney provides strategic counsel to employer and employee clients exclusively in the areas of employment law, human resources law, and human rights law. Over the course of her career, she has served national corporations, start-ups, senior executives, and individual employees across a broad range of industries.