New Changes To The Alberta Employment Standards Code
On January 1, 2018 Alberta’s new Employment Standards Code (the Code) came into force and some notable changes came along with it. Many of the Alberta Employment Standards Code changes align Alberta’s employment standards with employment standards already in place in the rest of Canada. Some of the most significant changes to the Code are those made to unpaid, job-protected leaves of absences. However, the new Alberta Employment Standards Code changes implement numerous and significant changes to all aspects of employment standards in Alberta, most of which confer expanded entitlements and greater protection on Alberta employees. The Employment lawyers at Kahane Law Office are able to help make these new standards easier to understand.
Deduction Restrictions Employers Can Deduct From Employee Pay
Under the Alberta Employment Standards Code changes, the cost of an employees’ work uniform can no longer be deducted from the employees’ wage. The new Code also does not allow for an employees’ pay to be deducted for “dine-and-dash” situations. The restriction on pay deductions for an employees’ faulty workmanship, damages caused by the employee and employer cash shortages/loss of employer’s property remain in place.
Overtime Pay And Overtime Banking Agreements
Entitlement to overtime pay remains the same in the new Alberta Employment Standards Code changes as it was under the previous Code. Employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 8 hours per day or 44 hours per week (whichever is greater) and are entitled to be paid 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for every 1 hour of overtime worked.
The rate of pay for banked overtime is 1.5 hours of paid time off for every 1 hour of overtime worked. Previously, Overtime Banking Agreements allowed Employers to give banked time on a 1:1 hour ratio. Now, banked time off will be given on a 1:1.5 hour ratio. This will have a significant impact for employees.
Temporary layoffs require a written notice from the employer to the employee. The written notice must state the date the temporary layoff begins and reference the applicable provisions of the Code.
Indefinite temporary layoffs are no longer possible. The new Code restricts the allowable length of a temporary layoff period to be 60 days within a 120 day period. Temporary layoff periods can exceed 60 days if wages and/or benefits are paid to the employee and the employee agrees to the extension.
Unpaid, Job Protected Leaves Of Absence
The Alberta Employment Standards Code changes made to unpaid, job protected leaves of absences are perhaps the most significant changes imposed by the new Code. Under the new Code, existing leaves are expanded and new leaves are created.
Although these are unpaid leaves of absences, an employer cannot terminate an employee while that employee is on leave and must keep the employee’s job open. The only exception to this is where the business is closed or suspended, in which case the employee may be terminated while on leave. Employers cannot terminate an employee because the employee has taken a leave.
Employees are entitled to the new Code’s leaves each calendar year. This has a significant impact for employees who have a chronic illness as they can take up to 16 weeks of leave per year, every year.
Employees are now permitted to take multiple leaves within a single calendar year. This entitles the employee to potentially extensive leaves of absences where their job will remain open until they return at the end of their leave period.
Subject to specified notice requirements, employees are allowed to take up 27 weeks for Compassionate Care Leave, up to 16 weeks for Unpaid Maternity Leave (with leave available for those who have experienced a terminated pregnancy in certain circumstances), up to 62 weeks for Unpaid Parental Leave, up to 5 days for Personal and Family Responsibility, up to 16 weeks for Long -Term Illness and Injury, up to 3 days for Bereavement Leave (which now includes the family members of the employees’ partner), up to 10 days for Domestic Violence Leave, up to ½ day for Citizenship Ceremony Leave, up to 36 weeks for Critical Illness of A Child Leave, up to 16 weeks for Critical Illness of an Adult Family Member Leave, up to 52 weeks for Death of a Child Leave, and up to 104 weeks for Disappearance of a Child Leave.
Alberta Employment Standards Code Changes Summary
The recent changes to the Employment Standards Code allow for better job protection for employees and provide restrictions that employers will need to comply with. If you have any questions about how the new Code applies to your specific situation, it is best to seek the advice of an employment lawyer who can review the circumstances and give you an opinion on how the new changes will impact you as an employee or employer.
Need Help With The New Employment Code in Alberta?
The employment lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary are able to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities. These are rules that all employers should be aware of in Alberta. The In Calgary, Alberta you can call 403-225-8810 or email today to contact us.