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Understanding Alberta Employment Standards

Do these questions sound familiar?  We can help you!

What is the minimum wage in Alberta?
Is Boxing Day a Public Holiday?
When must I pay overtime?
May I employ someone under the age of 16?
What steps am I required to take to terminate the employment of my employee?


Are you a new business owner?

The first step is to find out if you are provincially or federally regulated. Most Alberta businesses will be provincially regulated, but if you are in the transportation, airline, pipeline, or another federally regulated business you may be federally regulated. HRSDC has a list of all federally regulated businesses and you can also access pamphlets covering Federal Labour Code requirements.


Where can I find out more specific details about Alberta Employment Standards?

You can access all the Fact Sheets on common areas of questions and you can always call CFIB Business Resources at 888-234-2232 at any time when you have a question. Our Business Counsellors would be pleased to help you navigate the Code. Alberta provides a guide for employers that you can access. Oilwell Servicing,  and Construction are some of the workplaces that have special Employment Standards Code Provisions, be sure to access the fact sheets on those if they apply to your business.


What is the minimum wage in Alberta?

As of October 1, 2015, the minimum wage in Alberta is $11.20 per hour for all employees with the exception of those who serve liquour as part of their regular duties, their minimum wage as of October 1, 2015 is $10.70 per hour. For more information the Province provides a fact sheet which was updated as of October 2015.


Is Boxing Day a Public Holiday?

Boxing Day or December 26th is not a Public Holiday (or as many people call them - Stat day) in Alberta.  There is no requirement to pay employees for that day if they are not at work and no requirement to pay a special rate to employees who are scheduled to work that day.  There are 9 General Public Holidays listed in the Employment Standards Code; they are: New Year's Day, Alberta Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day.  Here is the list of the Public Holidays in Alberta.


When must I pay overtime?

Any hours over 8 in a day and any hours over 44 in a week must be treated as overtime and must be paid at time and a half in most workplaces.  For example, if you have a part time employee who worked 10 hours one day and only 22 in that week, you would be required to pay them 2 hours of overtime and 20 hours of regular pay for that week.  As another example, if you had a full time employee who worked 8 hours each of Monday to Friday and then worked 4 hours on Saturday, you would not be required to pay any overtime as their week did not exceed 44 hours and no day exceeded 8 hours.  Remember, you may choose business policies that exceed employment standards, just apply them consistently among all your employees.


May I employ someone under the age of 16?

That depends!  There are regulations which limit the kind of work someone who is under the age of 15 may do and for all those under 16, employers are prohibited from employing them during school hours.  To ensure you are within the regulations, consult this fact sheet and call us for a discussion if you are still unsure.


What steps am I required to take to terminate the employment of my employee?

A decision to let an employee go can have legal implications for your business.  CFIB recommends that you get legal advice prior to terminating the employment of one of your staff.  There are risks to your business beyond receiving an employment standards complaint and investigation.  With that said, the minimum you must do according to the Employment Standards Code of Alberta is as follows:

You must supply written working notice or written payment in lieu of notice according to the following chart of length of employment:

Length of serviceWritten notice required
under 3 monthsno notice required
over 3 months and less than 2 years1 week
2 years or more, less than 4 years2 week
4 years or more, less than 6 years4 week
6 years or more, less than 8 years5 week
more than 8 years, less than 106 week
more than 10 years8 week


 Questions? Call a CFIB Business Counsellor today at 1-888-234-2232.