For most employees in Red Deer, Alberta’s Employment Standards Code offers some protection against being wrongfully terminated from your job.
Employers must follow strict guidelines if they want to terminate an employee without cause, with adequate written notice of termination or severance pay in lieu of notice required in most cases.
Sometimes, unfortunately, these rules are flouted and employees’ rights are violated.
If this has happened to you, the quicker you act the better. Contact our experienced local employment lawyers in Red Deer and we can help you claim what is rightfully yours from your employer.
WHAT IS SEVERANCE PAY IN RED DEER?
Severance pay should be paid by an employer when an employee is terminated without cause and reasonable notice is not provided.
When legally terminating an employee, the employer can provide either:
- Reasonable written notice, or
- Severance pay, or
- A combination of notice and severance
Think of severance pay as temporary compensation for the loss of the job and to help you avoid financial hardship as you search for alternative employment.
It may include basic wages plus other benefits that your employer might provide, including:
- Pension contributions
- RRSP contributions
- Medical and dental benefits
- Vacation pay
- Stipends for mobile devices
- Gym memberships, etc.
In cases where these benefits are provided on top of wages, you may hear severance referred to as a “severance package”.
The minimum amount of severance pay you are entitled to under the Employment Standards Code, in the absence of written notice, depends on your length of service with the employer.
However, under common law, employees are often entitled to more than the minimum amounts and this is why you should talk your situation over with an employment lawyer before signing any paperwork with your employer.
If the offer from your employer is sufficient, a severance package can be preferable to providing reasonable notice for both you and the employer because working during notice periods can be awkward for both parties.
IS SEVERANCE PAY MANDATORY IN RED DEER?
Severance pay is mandatory in Red Deer in the following circumstances:
- You are an employee covered under the Employment Standards Code, and
- You have been in continuous employment with the employer for 90 days or more, and
- You have not been provided with notice of termination, and
- You are terminated without legal cause
Where an employer has “just cause” you can be terminated legally on the spot without notice or severance.
Just cause generally includes behaviour that is incompatible with the duties of a position or that clearly breaches the terms of employment.
Who qualifies for severance pay in Red Deer?
Most employees in Alberta qualify for severance, providing that they:
- Are not dismissed for just cause (this can be very difficult for an employer to establish),
Do not resign or quit their position voluntarily (note that being forced to resign because of constructive dismissal is not lawful and does not
- absolve an employer of the need to provide notice or severance to the employee)
Some employees are not eligible to receive severance under Alberta’s Employment Standards Code. Typical examples include seasonal workers, onsite construction workers, and union members.
HOW MUCH SEVERANCE PAY AM I ENTITLED TO IN RED DEER?
Your specific circumstances will generally need to be assessed by an employment lawyer before you can determine what you are entitled to.
It is important not to simply accept the severance that your employer offers you before checking the offer with an employment lawyer.
As mentioned, under common law you may be entitled to more than the mandatory minimums stated in the Employment Standards Code.
Under common law, as well as considering the length of service, the following factors are taken into account when determining a reasonable severance package:
- The cause of termination and how it was carried out
- Your age and future employability
- The nature of the work you were doing
- Whether you have employment insurance coverage
If you received significant benefits as part of your package as an employee, these should also be adequately compensated in your severance package. The mandatory minimum severance awards do not cover this sufficiently.
For the record, however, the standard minimum requirements for employers under provincial employment law are:
- After 90 days to one year of employment: one weeks’ notice or severance pay
- After one year of service: two weeks’ notice or severance pay
- After each additional year of service: one extra week’s notice or severance pay up to a maximum of eight weeks.
Again, if you are unsure, an experienced lawyer will be able to provide an estimate of what you should receive based on similar cases in the past.
DO YOU GET SEVERANCE IF YOU GET FIRED IN RED DEER?
Your employer is entitled to dismiss you for any reason providing reasonable notice or severance pay is given.
Under Alberta employment law, you can only be fired on the spot without severance pay if your employer can show just cause.
This is not always straightforward. There are some obvious examples like theft of company property or fraud.
However, most “just cause” cases are more complex and, unless a serious breach of contract occurs, the employer must show that adequate warnings were provided to the employer before being dismissed.
For instance, persistent lateness and under-performance may only qualify as “just cause” if repeated written warnings were provided beforehand.
SPEAK WITH OUR RED DEER SEVERANCE PAY EXPERTS TODAY
Don’t underestimate the employment rights you have. They are there to protect you and if you have been wronged by an employer, it is important to claim these rights.
A Taylor Janis employment lawyer can advise you of your options during a confidential 30-minute telephone or video consultation.
Enquire now to book an initial consultation: 604-423-2646.