Changes in Overtime Pay and Holiday Pay
On May 27, 2019, Alberta’s newly elected United Conservative Party introduced the Open for Business Act (“Bill 2”). If passed, Bill 2 will give rise to several amendments to the ESC (Employment Standards Code). The key changes would take effect on September 1, 2019, and are summarized below:
Changes to banked overtime pay
Currently, employers and employees can agree in writing to bank overtime at the rate of 1.5 hours off work with pay for each 1-hour of overtime worked. Under the proposed Bill, employees will be entitled to 1-hour off work with pay for each 1-hour of overtime worked.
Changes to holiday pay
- Employees would have to work for their employer for at least 30 days in the 12 months prior to the statutory holiday. Hence employees will not be eligible for general holiday pay immediately upon commencing employment.
- Employees would not be eligible for holiday pay if they are absent without consent from work on the first day before, or on the first day after, a holiday.
- The distinction between regular and non-regular workdays for holiday pay would be restored. The general holiday must fall on a day the employee would have normally worked, in order to receive general holiday pay. For an employee working an irregular schedule, he or she must have worked at least five out of the last nine days on which the general holiday falls to receive general holiday pay (e.g., five of the last nine Fridays if the general holiday falls on a Friday).
These changes may reduce the cost of doing business for employers in Alberta. The amendments to the ESC’s general holiday pay rules are likely to be of interest to employers with workforces that have fluctuating schedules, such as the restaurant industry.