Alberta Employment Standards Changes Effective January 1, 2018

The Alberta Government came out with significant changes to employment standards that take effect January 1, 2018. Below highlights the significant changes being introduced:

Probationary period 

  • The probationary period has been changed to 90 days from the employees start date. The old rule was 3 months but under the new rules the probationary period ends on the 90th consecutive day of employment

Rest periods


  • Employees will be entitled to a minimum of a 30-minute break (paid or unpaid) within every 5 hours of consecutive employment. If agreed to by the employer and employees, breaks can be taken in two, 15-minutes installments

Overtime requirements


  • Overtime is all hours worked over 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week, whichever is greater (8/44 rule) 
  • Overtime agreements will allow time to be banked for 6 months rather than 3. 
  • Overtime banking will be calculated at 1.5x for all overtime hours worked, rather than hour-for-hour. 
  • Except with a written overtime agreement, an employer must pay an employee overtime pay of at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular wage rate for all overtime hours worked.

General Holiday pay


  • The requirement to have worked for 30 days in the 12 months before the holiday will be removed. The distinction between regular and non-regular days of work will be eliminated. 
  • General Holiday pay will be calculated as 5% of wages, general holiday pay, and vacation pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the holiday 
  • The basic rules are that most employees both full-time and part-time, are entitled to paid general holidays immediately after starting their employment. 
  • General holidays that are mandatory are: New year’s day, Alberta Family day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day 
  • General Holidays that are optional are: Easter Monday, Heritage Day and Boxing Day 

Vacation and Vacation Pay
  • The Code will be clarified to indicate that employees must be paid 4% or 2 weeks of their total wages as vacation pay until they have been employed for 5 years, after which they must receive at least 6%. 
  • Half-day vacation increments will be allowed, up from a minimum of one day


Minimum Wage


  • All Albertans deserve to make a living wage. Employers will no longer be allowed to pay employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage. Permits that formerly allowed employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage are no longer available. 

Youth Employment (Note: these changes come into effect May 1, 2018)
  • With the exception of artistic endeavours, youth under the age of 13 will not be allowed to work as employees. (Youth under the age of 13 will be allowed to be employed in artistic endeavours such as a theatre production with a permit.) 
  • Youth aged 13-15 will only be allowed to work in jobs on the ‘light work’ list. 
  • The Ministry will consult with employers and other stakeholders to modernize the list of allowable ‘light work’ jobs for youth under the age of 16 to include, for example, accommodation and food service tasks such as setting tables, golf caddying or working in a pro shop and tutoring, etc. The list will then be reviewed and updated every 3 years. Employment in a job that is not on the list will require a permit in advance. 
  • Youth aged 15 years and under will not be allowed to work from 12:01 am to 6 am. 
  • Youth under 16 will be prohibited from jobs deemed to include hazardous work. 
  • The Ministry will be consulting with stakeholders to create a definition of hazardous work. 
  • 16 and 17-year-olds will be allowed to do hazardous work only with a permit, and with proper 
Leaves
  • All of the following job-protected leaves are unpaid. 
  • Eligibility – Employees will be eligible for current (excluding reservists leave) and new leaves after 90 days, rather than one year. 
  • Personal and Family Responsibility Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 5 days of job protection per year for personal sickness or short-term care of an immediate family member. Includes attending to personal emergencies and caregiving responsibilities related to education of a child. 
  • Long-Term Illness and Injury Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 16 weeks of job protection per year for long-term personal sickness or injury. Medical certificate and reasonable notice will be required. This will align with the federal Employment Insurance program. 
  • Bereavement Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 3 days of job protection per year for bereavement of an immediate family member. 
  • Domestic Violence Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 10 days of job protection per year for employees addressing a situation of domestic violence. 
  • Citizenship Ceremony Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to a half-day of job protection for employees attending a citizenship ceremony. 
  • Critical Illness of an Adult Family Member – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 16 weeks of job protection for employees who take time off to care for an ill or injured adult family member. This will align with the federal Employment Insurance program. 
  • Critical Illness of a Child – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 36 weeks of job protection for parents of critically ill or injured children. This will align with the federal Employment Insurance program. 
  • Death or disappearance of a Child – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 52 weeks of job protection for employees whose child disappeared as a result of a crime, or up to 104 weeks if a child died as a result of a crime. This will align with the federal Employment Insurance program.

For additional information please see the Alberta Labour Standards website: www.alberta.ca/eschanges
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