KEY CHANGES TO THE  EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS CODE 

Over the past two years, Alberta has seen significant changes made in legislation surrounding workplace safety, minimum wages, overtime compensation, and other areas affecting employment. 

Following the recent change in government, changes to minimum wage requirements and a host of amendments to the Employment Standards Code (“ESC”) have been introduced in Bill 2 – An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business (the“Act”). The changes to minimum wage requirements will be implemented on June 26, 2019.  The changes to the ESC still need to be passed by the Legislature but the proposed implementation date is September 1, 2019. 

MINIMUM WAGE CHANGES

The changes which take effect June 26, 2019, reduce the minimum wage for workers aged 13 to 17 from $15 an hour to $13 an hour for:

  • all work performed during a school break for the employee; or
  • the first 28 hours in a work week performed other than during a school break.

“School break” is defined as a spring break, a Christmas or winter break or a summer vacation period recognized by the educational institution in which the employee is enrolled. An “educational institution” is defined as a school, a private or public post-secondary institution, and an institution providing vocational training. 

This means that during school breaks all employees aged 13 to 17 are to be paid a minimum wage of $13 an hour.  At all other times during the year they are to be paid a minimum wage of $13 an hour for the first 28 hours of work per a week.  Any work done by an employee aged 13 to 17 beyond 28 hours a week attracts a minimum wage requirement of $15 an hour.

FURTHER CHANGES PROPOSED BY BILL 2

Should the Bill pass, the following changes will be implemented as of September 1, 2019:

  • Overtime will be banked in an hour for hour exchange rather than 1.5 hours of time off being banked for every hour of overtime worked, and if the banked time is not used within 6 months it will need to be paid out in cash at time and a half.
  • To qualify for statutory holiday pay an employee will have to work for their employer for at least 30 days in the 12 months prior to the statutory holiday in question.
  • Employees who are absent from work without consent on the day before or the day after a statutory holiday will not be eligible to receive pay for that statutory holiday.
  • The distinction between regular and non-regular work days for the purposes of holiday pay will be restored.
HOLIDAYS

  • If the holiday falls on what would normally be a work day for the employee and they work on the holiday, the employee will either get 1.5 times their regular wage for hours worked and their average daily wage, or their regular wage rate for hours worked and their average daily wage with one day off work which would normally be a work day.
  • If the holiday falls on what would normally be a work day for the employee and the employee does not work on the holiday they will be entitled to their average daily wage.
  • If the holiday falls on what would normally not be a work day for the employee and they work on the holiday, they will get 1.5 time their regular wage rate for hours worked.
  • If the holiday falls on what would normally not be a work day for the employee, and they do not work on the holiday then they will not be entitled to general holiday pay.

HOW WE CAN HELP

Regardless if you are an employee or an employer, the introduction of these legislative changes will undoubtedly affect your workplace. Employers should review and consider updating their employment practices and/or policies in line with these revised laws.

Whether you need a consultation, a review/revision of your employment contracts, or a complete overhaul of your employment policies, our firm has the expertise to assist you. 

Please feel free to contact any member of the Employment Services Practice Group at Emery Jamieson LLP to learn more by visiting our website: www.emeryjamieson.com/practices/employment-and-labour/

This update was prepared in June 2019 by Jasmine Billing of:

Emery Jamieson LLP
Barristers, Solicitors, Mediators & Arbitrators
1700, 10235 - 101 Street | Edmonton, AB | T5J 3G1