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Changes to Employment Regulations

The Alberta government passed Bill 17: The Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act on January 1, 2018, these changes will impact businesses and employees in Alberta.

Here are some highlights:

General Holiday Pay
  • Most employees are entitled to take general holidays and receive general holiday pay immediately upon starting employment.
  • Most employees are entitled to general holidays and receive general holiday pay regardless of the day of the week the general holiday falls.
  • Employees who work a general holiday are entitled to either:
    • pay of 1.5 times what they would normally earn for the hours worked in addition to an amount that is their average daily wage, or
    • their standard wage rate for hours worked plus a day off at a future date and an amount that is their average daily wage for that day off.
  • Employees who don’t work on a general holiday and are eligible for general holiday pay must be paid at least their average daily wage.
  • Average daily wage calculated as 5% of the employee’s wages, general holiday pay and vacation pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday.

Note: Overtime pay is not included in the calculation of average daily wage.

Example calculation of general holiday pay

An employee makes $20/hour. Their vacation pay is paid out on each cheque. In the 4 weeks (28 days) leading up to the July 1 holiday (between June 3 and June 30), they worked 141 hours.

The first step in calculating general holiday pay is to calculate average daily wage.

 Calculation/DetailsTotal
WagesHours worked in previous 28 days x Hourly wage141 Hours x $20/hr = $2820
Vacation pay4% of wages$2820 x 0.04 = $112.80
General holiday pay
(from previous general holidays)*
There were no general holidays
between June 3 and June 30
$0
Average daily wage5% of (Wages + Vacation pay
+ General holiday pay)
($2820 + $112.80 + $0)x .05 = $146.64
*Any general holiday pay paid out in the previous 4 weeks.
 

Then we can calculate the total owed based on whether the employee works on the general holiday.

 Calculation/detailsTotal
If the employee doesn't work
on the general holiday
Average daily wage$146.64
If the employee works on
the general holiday
(Hours worked x Hourly wage
x 1.5)+ Average daily wage
OR
(Hours worked x Hourly wage)
+ Paid day off at rate of average daily wage
(8 hours x $20/hour x 1.5)+$146.64 = $386.64
OR
(8 hours x $20/hour)= $160
+ Day off at $146.64

 

Banked Overtime
  • Overtime agreements will allow time to be banked for 6 months rather than 3.
  • Overtime banking will be calculated at 1.5x for all overtime hours worked, rather than hour-for-hour.
Compressed Work Weeks / Averaging Agreements

Basic rules

  • Compressed work weeks are now replaced by hours of work averaging agreements
  • There are 2 types of averaging agreements:
    • hours of work averaging agreement (between a group of employees or an individual)
    • flexible averaging agreement (individual only)
  • They allow employers to schedule an employee, or group of employees, to work longer hours per day paid at the employee’s regular wage rate.
  • The employer will average an employee’s hours of work over a period to determine overtime pay or time off with pay.
    • Up to 1-12 weeks for hours of work averaging agreements (HWAA)
    • Up to 2 weeks for flexible averaging agreements (FAA)
  • Extending the averaging period for an HWAA beyond the 12-week maximum requires a variance issued by the Director of Employment Standards.
  • Extending the averaging period for an FAA beyond the 2-week maximum will not be allowed.
  • Any compressed work week arrangement entered prior to Jan 1, 2018 will be in effect until Jan 1, 2019 or until the arrangement ends, whichever is earlier
Protected Unpaid Leave of Absences

Eligibility – Employees will be eligible for current (excluding reservists leave) and new leaves after 90 days, rather than one year.

  • Personal and Family Responsibility Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 5 days of job protection per year for personal sickness or short-term care of an immediate family member. Includes attending to personal emergencies and caregiving responsibilities related to education of a child.
  • Long-Term Illness and Injury Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 16 weeks of job protection per year for long-term personal sickness or injury. Medical certificate and reasonable notice will be required. This will align with the federal Employment Insurance program.
  • Bereavement Leave – A new unpaid leave will provide up to 3 days of job protection per year for bereavement of an immediate family member.
Youth Employment (effective date pending)
  • Youth under the age of 13 will not be allowed to work as employees unless employed in artistic endeavours with a permit
  • Youths ages 13 to 15 can only do "light work" or other employment authorized by a Director's variance/permit but no "hazardous work"
  • Youths ages 16 to 17 may be employed in any employment, except if the position is "hazardous work", a Director's variance/permit is required

McLennan Ross' Labour & Employment Practice Group hosted a webinar on the new employment changes that went over in detail the Employment Standards changes.

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