Alberta

Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The standard hours of work of an employee shall not exceed 8 hours in a day and 44 hours in a week. An employee may work a maximum of 12-hours a day unless an exception occurs. Employment Standards Code, § 16.

 

Call-in

When an employee has been called to work, he shall be paid for at least 3 hours of pay at the minimum wage each time they report to work. However, this does not apply if the employee is not available to work for a full 3 hours.

 

In case, the employee works for less than 3 hours, the employer shall pay wages that are at least equal to 3 hours at the minimum wage rate.

 

If an employee’s regular wage is greater than the minimum wage, the employer may pay them for less than 3 hours of work at this higher rate, as long as the total is higher than 3 hours at minimum wage. Labor Code, § 16 and Labor Regulation § 13.3; Bill 17 and Employment Standard Regulation.

 

Recording Requirements

An employer shall maintain a record for each employee with information relating to his/her wages, overtime hours, and any other information as may be required by the regulations for at least a period of 3 years from the date each such record is made. Employment Standards Code, § 14 – 15.

 

Compressed work weeks/ Averaging Agreements 

“Averaging agreements” have been replaced with “Averaging Arrangements” Employers will now be able to bring changes to the OT averaging arrangement by providing two weeks’ notice to employees. The averaging period has been increased from 12 weeks to 52 weeks and employers will no longer be required to attain the employee’s consent before amending the arrangement. The averaging arrangements are also not required to have an end date.

This provides flexibility in the calculation of overtime and cases where daily overtime is applicable. Overtime is calculated on the greater of weekly or daily overtime hours when daily overtime is included. Averaging period overtime must be paid to the employee no later than 10 days after the pay period that the averaging period ends, which may be as long as 52 weeks, as determined by the employers. Employment Standards Code  § 21 – 24. 

Overtime

Overtime hours in respect of a workweek are the total of an employee’s hours of work in excess of 8 on each workday in the workweek, or an employee’s hours of work in excess of 44 hours in the workweek, whichever is greater. ( 8/44 rule).

 

Overtime Pay

An employer must pay an employee overtime pay for overtime hours at an overtime rate that is at least 1.5 times the employee’s wage rate or one hour of time off for every hour of overtime worked. Time off with pay must be provided, taken, and paid to employees within six months of the end of the pay period. This does not apply to an employer or employee who has entered into an overtime agreement.

 

Previously according to the provision that came into force on January 1, 2018, employees can “bank” 1.5 hours of time off with pay for every hour of overtime worked. But, effective September 1, 2019, employees return to banking one hour of time off with pay for every hour of overtime worked instead.

 

Compressed work weeks/ Averaging Agreements 

Employers and employees will be allowed to agree to average work hours over a period of 1 to 12 weeks for the purpose of determining overtime eligibility. All such agreements will require the support of the majority of affected employees or be contained within a union collective agreement. Employment Standards Code  § 21 – 24.

Breaks

An employer shall provide a meal break either within or immediately following the first 5 hours of a shift. Employers are also required to provide a second rest period if the employee is working a 10 hour or longer shift. Employers and employees can also enter into an agreement to break 30 minutes break into two 15 minutes break periods. Employment Standards Code, § 18.

 

Rest Period

Every employer must allow each employee at least:

      • 1 day of rest in each workweek,
      • 2 consecutive days of rest in each period of 2 consecutive work weeks,
      • 3 consecutive days of rest in each period of 3 consecutive work weeks, or
      • 4 consecutive days of rest in each period of 4 consecutive workweeks.

Every employer must allow each employee at least 4 consecutive days of rest after every 24 consecutive workdays.

 

Rest between Shifts

An employee must not be required to change from one shift to another without at least 24 hours’ written notice and at least 8 hours’ rest between shifts. Employment Standards Code  § 18 – 19.

Public Holidays

The following days are general holidays in Alberta:

      • New Year’s Day,
      • Alberta Family Day,
      • Good Friday,
      • Victoria Day,
      • Canada Day,
      • Labour Day,
      • Thanksgiving Day,
      • Remembrance Day,
      • Christmas Day,
      • any other day designated, by regulation, as a general holiday by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and
      • any other day designated as a general holiday under an agreement between an employer and employees, or otherwise designated as a general holiday by an employer.

Holiday Eligibility
An employee is entitled to general holiday pay if they have worked for the same employer for at least 30 workdays in the 12 months prior to the holiday. 

 

General Holiday Pay – Average Daily Wage(ADW)

Employers can calculate “Average Daily Wage” as the total wages averaged over the number of days worked in the 4 weeks before a general holiday or the 4 weeks ending on the last day of the pay period immediately before the general holiday. Vacation pay and general holiday pay will no longer be part of the ADW calculation.

 

General holiday during Annual Vacation

If a general holiday occurs during an employee’s annual vacation, the employer must give the employee a holiday with general holiday pay, of a sum that is at least equal to the average daily wage of the employee. The general holiday must be taken on the employee’s first scheduled working day after the vacation or at any later time on any working day of the employee, as may be agreed with the employer.

 

General Holiday pay on a Normal Working Day

If a general holiday falls on a normal working day and the employee does not work on such a holiday, he/she is entitled to holiday pay in an amount which is at least equal to the average daily wage of the employee.

 

If a general holiday falls on a normal working day, and the employee works on such day, he/she is entitled to holiday pay of –  

      • an amount which is at least equal to the daily average wage of the employee, and
      • an amount that is at least 1.5 times the employee’s wage rate for each hour of work of the employee on that day, 

or

1 day’s holiday, not later than the employee’s next annual vacation, on a day that would normally be a workday for the employee, and general holiday pay for that day of an amount that is at least the employee’s average daily wage.

 

General Holiday Pay for Working on an Unscheduled Day of Work

If the general holiday falls on a day that is not normally a workday for the employee and he/she works on such holiday, in such cases, the employer shall pay general holiday pay of an amount equal to 1.5 times the wage rate of the employee for each hour of work on that day.

 

Effect of General Holiday on Overtime Calculation

When an employee works on a general holiday and is paid general holiday pay of at least 1.5 times the employee’s wage rate for each hour worked, the hours worked are not to be counted for the purpose of calculating any entitlement to overtime pay for the workweek in which the general holiday occurs. Employment Standards Code,§ 25 – 33.

Annual Leave

Basic Vacation Entitlement

An employer must provide an annual vacation to an employee of at least:

      • 2 weeks after each of the first 4 years of employment, and
      • 3 weeks after 5 consecutive years of employment and each year of employment after that
      • Half-day vacation increments may be allowed 

Vacation Pay 

For employees paid monthly

For each week of vacation, the employer must pay an employee paid by the month vacation pay of an amount at least equal to the employee’s wages for the employee’s normal hours of work in a work month divided by 4 1/3.

 

For employees paid other than monthly

The employer shall pay vacation pay to the employee, an amount at least equal to:

        • for an employee entitled to 2 weeks’ vacation or any lesser amount, 4% of the employee’s wages for the year of employment for which vacation is given, or
        • for an employee entitled to 3 weeks’ vacation, 6% of the employee’s wages for the year of employment for which vacation is given. 

Computing 5 or more years of Employment

When it is necessary to determine whether an employee has been employed by an employer for 5 years of employment, or to determine whether the 6th common anniversary date has occurred, any break in the employee’s employment with the employer of fewer than 90 days is to be counted as a period of continuous employment.

 

Timing of Vacations

An employee shall take his/her vacation in one unbroken period no later than 12 months after an employee becomes entitled to it. However, an employer may allow the vacation to be taken in one or more periods upon the request of the employee as long as each vacation period is a one-half day long.

 

General Holiday during a Vacation

If an employee is eligible for a general holiday and such holiday falls during the vacation period, employees can take off on their first scheduled working day after the vacation or at any later time on any working day of the employee with holiday pay, as may be agreed with the employer.

 

Vacation Pay on Termination

Before 12 months of Employment
If employment terminates before an employee completes 12 months of employment, the employer must pay 4% of the employee’s wages earned during employment.

 

After 12 months of Employment
If employment terminates after an employee becomes entitled to annual vacation, the employer must pay the unpaid vacation entitlements for the previous year, plus:

      • for an employee who’s entitled to 2 weeks’ vacation, at least 4% of the employee’s wages for the period from the date they last became entitled to an annual vacation to the employment termination date
      • for an employee who is entitled to 3 weeks’ vacation, at least 6% of the employee’s wages for the period from the date they last became entitled to an annual vacation to the employment termination date.

Employment Standard  Code § 34 – 44.

Minimum Wage

As on October 1, 2018, the minimum wage for Alberta, Canada is $15.00. Alberta Ministry of Labor, Minimum Wage.

 

 

 

The minimum wage rate mentioned above may not be up to date. Kindly access this link to get the latest rates.

Special Leave

Maternity Leave

The maternity leave to which a pregnant employee is entitled is a period of not more than 16 weeks starting at any time during the  13 weeks immediately before the estimated date of delivery.

A pregnant employee whose pregnancy ends other than as a result of a live birth within 16 weeks of the estimated due date is entitled to maternity leave, and not parental leave. The leave shall end 16 weeks after it begins. 

An employee who takes maternity leave must take a period of leave of at least 6 weeks immediately following the date of delivery unless the employee and her employer agree to shorten the period by the employee’s giving her employer a medical certificate indicating that resumption of work will not endanger her health. Employment Standards Code  § 45 – 50 and Employment Standard Regulations § 54.3(a).

Paternity Leave

There is no legal entitlement to paternity leave, although a father may be eligible for up to 62 weeks of unpaid parental leave. Employees may be eligible for paternity benefits under the federal Employment Insurance program. Employment Standards Code, R.S.A. 2000, ch. E-9, §§ 50-52.

Parental Leave

An employer must grant parental leave to an employee as follows:

      • In the case of an employee entitled to maternity leave, a period of not more than 62 consecutive weeks immediately following the last day of maternity leave;
      • In the case of a parent who has been employed by the same employer for at least 90 days, a period of not more than 62 consecutive weeks within 78 weeks after the child’s birth;
      • In the case of an adoptive parent who has been employed by the same employer for at least 90 days, a period of not more than 62 consecutive weeks within 78 weeks after the child is placed with the adoptive parent for the purpose of adoption.
Special Leave

An employer shall provide special leave up to 10 days with pay to employees in order to deal with personal situations such as the illness of the employee’s spouse etc, that arise outside the workplace. The maximum leave available is ten (10) days in a calendar year.

Compassionate Care Leave

An employee who has been employed by the same employer for at least 90 days is entitled to unpaid compassionate care leave for a period of up to 27 weeks for the purpose of providing care or support to a seriously ill family member. If more than one employee who is employed by the same employer is entitled to compassionate care leave with respect to the same family member, the employer is not required to grant the leave to more than one employee at a time.

The leave shall begin from the day a medical certificate has been issued; or if the leave was begun before the certificate was issued, the day the leave began.

The leave ends on the earliest of the following occurrences:

      • the last day of the workweek in which the family member dies;
      • the 27 weeks of compassionate care leave ends; or
      • the last day of the workweek in which the employee ceases to provide care or support to the seriously ill family member. 

The leave can be taken in one or more periods but no period shall be less than one week’s duration. Employment Standards Code,§ 53.9(1).

Personal and Family Responsibility Leave

An employee who has been in continuous employment with the same employer for at least 90 days is entitled to unpaid leave up to 5 days in a year to the extended leave is necessary for the health of the employee or for the employee to meet his or her family responsibilities in relation to a family member. Employment Standards Code,§ 53.9832

Long-Term Illness and Injury Leave

An employee who has been in continuous employment for at least 90 days with the same employer is entitled to unpaid leave up to 16 weeks in each calendar year.

 

Annual Leave Coinciding with the Leave

Annual vacation earned prior to leaving must be taken within 12 months after it was earned. If this time falls while the employee is on leave, the employee must:

      • take the remaining vacation time at the end of their leave, or
      • get approval from the employer to take the vacation time at a later date.

Employment Standards Code,§ 53.97(1).

Bereavement Leave

An employee who has been in continuous employment with the same employer for at least 90 days is entitled to unpaid leave for up to 3 days in case of the death of an immediate or extended family member. Employment Standards Code,§ 53.983.

Domestic Violence Leave

An employee and the employee who has been in continuous employment with the same employer for at least 90 days are entitled to unpaid leave up to 10 days, in cases where the employee, employee’s dependent child, or a protected adult who resides with the employer is subject to domestic violence. Employment Standards Code,§ 53.981.

Citizenship Ceremony Leave

An employee who has been in continuous employment with the same employer for at least 90 days is entitled to unpaid leave up to half a day for attending a citizenship ceremony. Any leave days not used by the employee will not be carried forward into a new calendar year. Employment Standards Code,§ 53.984.

Critical Illness Leave

An employee who has been in continuous employment for at least 90 days and is a family member of a critically ill child is entitled to unpaid leave up to 36 weeks for providing support and care to the child.

 

An employee who has been in continuous employment for at least 90 days and is a family member of a critically ill adult is entitled to unpaid leave for up to 16 weeks for providing support and care to the ill adult.

 

If more than one employee who is employed by the same employer is entitled to critical illness leave with respect to the same child/adult, the employer is not required to grant the leave to more than one employee at a time. 

The leave ends on the earliest of the following occurrences:

      • the last day of the workweek in which the child or adult as the case may be, named in the medical certificate dies
      • the period of 36 weeks ends in case of the critically ill child or period of 16 weeks ends in case of critically ill adult
      • the expiry of the period mentioned in the medical certificate
      • the last day of the workweek in which the employee ceases to provide care or support to the critically ill child or ill adult.

The leave can be taken in one or more periods but no period shall be less than one week’s duration. Employment Standards Code  § 53.96 and Employment Standards Regulation, § 53.96.

Death or Disappearance of Child Leave

An employee who has been in continuous employment with the same employer for at least 90 days and is entitled to 52 weeks and 104 weeks of unpaid leave in case of disappearance and death of his/her child respectively, in cases where the probable cause of such occurrence is a crime.

The leave shall begin on the day when the death or disappearance occurred and shall end 52 weeks after the day on which the disappearance occurred or 104 weeks after the day on which death of the child occurred. In the case where the child disappeared has been found, the leave shall end on:

      • if found alive, 14 days after the day on which the child is found but no later than the end of the 52-week period, or 
      • if found dead, 104 weeks after the day on which disappearance occurred.

Employment Standards Code,§ 53.95.

Reservist Leave

An employee who has completed at least 26 consecutive weeks of employment with an employer and is a reservist is entitled to reservist leave without pay to take part in the following operations or activities:

    • Deployment to a Canadian Forces operation outside Canada;
    • Deployment to a Canadian Forces operation inside Canada that is or will be providing assistance in dealing with an emergency or with its aftermath;
    • Annual training, including related travel time, for an amount of up to 20 days in a calendar year;
    • Any operation or activity set out.

Employment Standards Code  § 53.2.

Voting Leave

An employee is eligible for 3 paid consecutive hours of break from work for the purpose of voting. However, employees are not required to provide such time off, if the voting hours are outside the normal working hours of an employee.

Last updated on: December 1st, 2020