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Bill 32: Employment standards victory!

On July 7, 2020 the Alberta government announced Bill 32, the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplace Act. Changes outlined in the bill is a huge CFIB VICTORY on ensuring Alberta’s employment standards are flexible for small businesses. Bill 32 is currently being debated and should pass within the summer months.

After countless advocacy letters, consultations, submissions, and meetings with government officials, CFIB was successful in getting the current government to make changes to Alberta’s employment standards. The government accepted almost all of CFIB’s recommendations outlined in our November 2019 submission to the employment standards review.

Proposed changes to Alberta’s employment standards in Bill 32 include:

  • Temporary layoff period extended to 90 days within a 120-day period (COVID-19 related layoffs up to 180 days is still in place) – CFIB recommendation
    • Specific timing requirements for written temporary layoff notice will also be removed
  • Simpler rules for calculating general holiday pay including changing the previously complicated average daily wage and general holiday pay – CFIB recommendation
    • Employers will no longer have to include vacation pay and general holiday pay in the average daily wage calculation
    • The new average daily wage will be the employees’ total wages averaged over the number of days they worked in the four weeks immediately before the general holiday OR four weeks ending on the last day of the pay period that occurred just before the general holiday
    • The employer can choose which calculation period best aligns with their payroll cycle
  • Rules for payment of final pay upon termination – CFIB recommendation
    • Employers are now able to pay an employee within one of the following periods that the employer choses: ten consecutive days after the end of the pay period where the termination occurs OR 31 consecutive days after the last day of employment
  • Work averaging agreements can have an averaging period of up to 52 weeks (was originally 12 weeks) – CFIB recommendation
  • The types of jobs 13- and 14-year olds can do has been expanded to allow employers to more easily hire 13- and 14- year olds – CFIB recommendation
    • The list of youth jobs in the Regulation will expand to include positions usually approved by Director permit. This includes positions in the restaurant and food services industry, on the condition that youth workers are working with someone at least 18 years old. Light janitorial work in offices, coaching and tutoring are also added.
  • Employees’ statement of earnings – CFIB recommendation
    • Electronic pay statements will be acceptable so long as the employee has confidential access and can print a paper copy.
  • Administrative penalties for payments and appeals – CFIB recommendation
    • If an employer is found guilty of breaking the rules the penalty is decreased on a case-by-case basis
    • Employers will have up to 30 days to pay administrative penalties
  • More flexibility for employers to determine how and if daily overtime applies
    • Overtime is calculated on the greater of weekly or daily overtime hours when daily overtime is included
  • Rules have been clarified to confirm employees can continue to accrue vacation time on a legislated leave

Your input through our regular surveys and feedback for our Employment Standards engagement submission helped inform and encourage the government to implement these changes. CFIB will continue to advocate on your behalf and ensure the government develops policies through a small business lens.

As always, we want to hear from you! If there is anything specific you would like us to voice on your behalf, please reach out to us via email or call us at 1-866-444-9290.

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