Know Your Rights

Minimum Wage

How much does the employer have to pay me?
– The general minimum wage is: $10.20 per hour for most employees.
– Liquor server minimum wage rate is $9.20 per hour.
– General minimum wage rates do not apply to the disabled.

Employees, over the age of 14, are entitled to not less than 3 hours at the minimum wage if they are employed for less than 3 hours and they are available to work for the full three hours.*

Hours of Work

A full time work week is defined as 44 hours per week. Hours of work must be confined to 8 hours within a 12-hour period.

Part-time hours of work are also confined to a twelve-hour period. Technically, an employer must provide at least one day of rest in each week. However, employers are entitled to require an employee to work up to 24 consecutive days and then schedule four rest days.

Employees must receive a ½ hour rest period, paid or unpaid, during each shift in excess of 5 consecutive hours of work.*

Overtime

Is defined as all hours worked in excess of 8 hours in a day or 44 hours in one week (which ever is greater). It can be paid out at 1.5 times the wage or taken in lieu time at regular pay provided the employer has the written consent of a majority of its employees.

Paid Public Holidays

In Alberta, the following are paid general holidays:

New Year’s Day
Alberta Family Day
Good Friday
Victoria Day
Canada Day
Labour Day
Thanksgiving Day
Remembrance Day
Christmas Day

Employees who have worked for an employer 30 paid days in the 12- month period before the holiday are entitled to general holidays and general holiday pay.

Employees who work on a paid holiday must be compensated in the following manner:

1. 2.5 times the regular rate of pay or
2. Regular rate of pay and a paid day off.

Employees on a regular day off who are required to work on the holiday receive 1.5
times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked.

Payment of Wages

Employees must be paid not later than 10 days after the end of each pay period.
No deduction can be made from an employee’s earnings for:

1. Faulty workmanship or
2. Cash shortages or loss of property if an individual other than the employee had access to the cash or property.

Vacation and Vacation Pay

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks of paid vacation after 1 year of employment (4% of earnings).

Employees are entitled to 3 weeks of paid vacation pay after 5 years of employment with an employer (6% of earnings).

Employment of Adolescents and Young Persons

Adolescents are persons 12 years to 14 years of age. The parent or guardian of an adolescent must agree to the employment and provide written consent to the employer. Adolescents can only work 2 hours on a school day and the maximum of 8 hours on a non school day. This restriction no longer applies when the individual reaches the age of fifteen. At the age of fifteen an individual is recognized as a Young Person. Certain employment restrictions apply until the young person reaches the age of eighteen.

Adolescents (12-14 yrs. old) cannot work between the hours of 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM. Young Persons (15-17) can not work at or in any retail store, selling food, beverages or other merchandise; a retail business selling gasoline or other petroleum products; a motel, hotel, inn, etc. between 9:00 PM and midnight unless that Young Person works with, and is in, continues presence of at least one other individual 18 years or older.

Termination

Employees should provide one to two weeks notice to resign. However, there is no penalty for not giving notice.

Employers are responsible to give the same amount of notice to employees in the event of a workforce reduction. If unemployed due to work place reduction an employee is considered an employee on layoff for a period of 59 days. On the 60th day employment is deemed to be terminated. In some instances the employer may owe termination pay to the employee.* Depending on the number of years of employment, the employer must provide one week or more notice (or pay in lieu of notice) if an employee is fired without cause after three months of employment. This does not apply to all types of employment.*

Complaints

Alberta Labour is responsible for enforcing the laws covering the minimum employment standards in Alberta.

If you wish to make an inquiry or lodge a complaint regarding a workplace issue call toll-free to the province-wide information line 780-310-0000 or dial 780-427-3731.

Typical types of complaints that relate to the Employment Standards Code are:

  • Hours of work
  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Pay deductions
  • No vacation or wrong payment
  • Incorrect rate of pay
  • Failure to pay

Information to have on hand when making a complaint:

  • Pay cheque stubs
  • Records of days and hours worked
  • Employee identification number
  • Your address and phone number
  • Correspondence from the employer
  • Employer address and phone number

Occupational Health & Safety Code

You are also covered by Alberta’s Health & Safety Code and Regulations. These set standards for noise, lighting, heat, air-borne particles, safety equipment, training, first aid, sanitation, and a number of other matters. It specifies that you as an employee are obligated to refuse work that creates imminent danger to yourself or could injure others. The danger must arise from something that is not part of the normal job. A full copy of the rule can be obtained at: http://work.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety/307.html

Discrimination and Harassment

You are also protected against discrimination and harassment in the workplace through the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship & Multiculturalism Act. Protected grounds are race, religious belief, colour, gender, physical and mental disability, marital status, ancestry, age, place of origin, family status or source of income.

Complaints can be filed by phoning 780-427-7661 or via email at humanrights@gov.ab.ca

The Alberta Employment Standards Code

Establishes minimum standards for all workers in this province. If you feel that the minimum standards do not meet your expectations, voice your concerns. Contact the MLA office in your area and let them know what you think. Remember, if you are eighteen you have the right to vote for a representative who will represent your needs.

If you choose to forward your concerns to the Minister of Labour, the phone number is 780-415-4800 or go to: www.employment.alberta.ca

Written complaints are also an effective method of communication, particularly if you request a written response. Send your complains to:

Minister of Employment and Immigration
#423 Legislature Building
10800 – 97th Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6

If you are a unionized worker you are probably entitled to a higher salary and better benefits than those provided by the Employment Standards Code. Check your collective agreement or talk to a shop steward.

The Edmonton and District Labour Council
101, 10425 Princess Elizabeth Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5G 0Y5

Check out the EDLC

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NOTE: No employer may require or ask its employees to waive any of the standards set out in the Employment Standards Act, the Occupational Health & Safety Act, the Workers Compensation Act, or the Human Right Act. Fines for doing so can be up to $10,000.

This leaflet has been prepared by the Edmonton and District Labour Council as part of a campaign to make younger workers and workers who are new to our country aware of their rights in the workplace. Information contained in this pamphlet comes directly from Alberta Labour. Please note items identified with an asterisk (*) have some exceptions that might apply. This is not a legal document. For the purposes of interpretation and application of the law the Department of Labour should be consulted.