BVA Blog

Changes to Employment Standards for Farma and Ranches – Effective January 1, 2018

Alberta Labour standards are changing the rules effective January 1, 2018. Below is a summary of the highlighted changes.

The new rules for Farm and Ranch Workers ONLY apply to waged, non-family members, which includes workers that are year round employees or seasonal employees. The new rules don’t apply to family members, nor do they apply to neighbours or friends lending a helping hand.

People who are exempt under the new farming rules:

  • Owner (which means shareholder, sole proprietor, or partner) and family members of the owner or the owners spouse
  • Relatives, friends, neighbors helping out –unpaid
  • Any youth who are doing chores or 4H

Family members include:

  • Children, step children, their spouses
  • Parent, step parent, their spouses
  • Sibling, half sibling, Step siblings
  • Grandparent, step grandparent, their spouse
  • Aunt, uncle, step aunt/uncle, their spouse
  • Niece, nephew, their spouse
  • First cousins and their spouse

Changes to the Hours of Work and Rest:

  • Hours worked – there is no limitations per day or week
  • Daily breaks – there is no requirements for daily breaks
  • Days of rest – the employee must have at least 4 days off within a 28 consecutive day period (it should be noted that rain days can count as days off)

Overtime Requirements

  • There is NO requirement to pay employees on farm and ranches for overtime worked. You can choose to pay overtime, because that is a greater benefit to the employee, but per the labour standards, there is no requirement to do so

Holiday pay:

  • Employers are required to pay general holiday pay at 4.2% of the employees average daily wage (which is calculated over the four week period prior to the holiday)
  • If the employee is working, you need to pay them the general holiday pay, as well as the daily wage that should receive for the hours actually worked at regular pay
  • General Statutory holidays that are mandatory to be paid are:
  • New Year’s day
  • Victoria Day 
  • Thanksgiving
  • Alberta Family Day 
  • Canada Day 
  • Remembrance Day
  • Good Friday 
  • Labour Day 
  • Christmas day
  • Holidays that are exempt are:
  • Heritage Day (August) 
  • Easter Monday 
  • Boxing Day

Employment Records

  • Records must be kept by the employer for each employee for at least 3 years
  • Pay statements must be provided to employees in writing and at the end of each pay period

Minimum Wage

  • Employees must be paid no less than minimum wage
  • Alberta’s minimum wage is currently $13.60/hour and will increase to $15/hour effective October 1, 2018

Quick recap of Non-Family, wage employees:

Exempt from Rules Around:

  • Daily and weekly hours worked and rest 
  • Breaks during shifts 
  • Overtime

Employees and Entitled to:

  • Minimum Wage Job Protected Leaves
  • Vacation time and vacation pay calculated based on their total wages
  • 4 Days off within a 28 day consecutive period
  • General holidays and general holiday pay

Additional information can be found on the Alberta Labours standards website at:

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