The Coming Changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Regulation in 2018

The New Year is less than one month away, so Alberta Labour is encouraging employers and employees to make sure they are aware of the changes that are coming to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Regulation in 2018.

Timeline:

  • Most changes to the Code and Regulation will take effect January 1, 2018, including the new leaves and Flexible Averaging Agreements
  • Revised light-work job list and a definition of hazardous work (related to youth employment) will be available in early 2018
  • Changes to youth employment rules, including a new light-work list and definition of hazardous work, will take effect May 1, 2018

These changes were passed as part of the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act in June 2017 and the updated Regulation in December 2017.

Highlights of the Code changes passed in June include:

  • Mandatory, job-protected personal and family responsibility leave, long-term illness and injury leave, care for a critically ill child leave, bereavement leave, domestic violence leave, death or disappearance of a child leave and citizenship ceremony leave
  • Expanded compassionate care, maternity and parental leave
  • Eligibility for most leaves after 90 days rather than one year
  • Overtime banking at 1.5X the number of hours worked
  • Simplified General Holiday Pay and increased eligibility
  • New penalty system with fines for employers found to be contravening the Code
  • Application of legislation to farms with waged, non-family employees
  • New rules for youth employment (effective May 1, 2018)

Highlights of the Regulation changes passed in December include:

Alignment with Employment Insurance:

  • Expansion of critical illness leave to include care for an adult family member (16 weeks/year)
  • Parental leave expanded to 62 weeks
  • Maternity leave expanded to 16 weeks
  • Definition of ‘family member’ for job-protected leaves

Other changes include:

  • Details for Averaging Agreements as they replace Compressed Work Weeks
  • Flexible Averaging Agreements (provides for limited use of time-for-time overtime)
  • Details on administrative penalties ($500 to $6,000) and related processes
  • Details on criteria for Director and Minister Variances
  • Additional details on youth employment (effective May 1, 2018)
  • Details of notice requirements for group terminations
  • Details on special rules for Days of Rest and  General Holidays for farm and ranch employees
  • Definition of ‘faulty work’ relating to wage deductions
  • Revisions to mechanisms for service of documents
  • Details on restrictions to deductions for uniforms

Employers – Now is the time to learn how changes will affect your operations. You are encouraged to review the materials and resources available to you, participate in a free online webinar, and call our Contact Centre if you have specific questions.

Employees – Changes to employment rules will affect you directly. Learn what you need to know about important issues such as overtime, rest periods, general holiday pay and the new leaves that will be available to you. Webinars are open to employees as well.

Resources

The Employment Standards website is the best place to start your information search. You may also want to find out more about specific changes coming to the Code .

You may also be interested in participating in a webinar about the Employment Standards Code changes Employer groups, non-profit organizations and worker representatives are encouraged to sign up.

Print materials will soon be available, including brochures and wall posters. When available, you can view them online and print them, or order a hard copy by calling 1-877-427-3731.

Instructional videos are being added to the Employment Standards website covering the key topics where standards are changing. Check the website regularly to see the newest additions.

If you have questions, the Employment Standards Contact Centre can be reached at 1-877-427-3731 from anywhere in Alberta. You can also email questions to www.alberta.ca/ESquestions.

Finally, you may be interested in signing up for email alerts when new information and/or resources becomes available. Sign up for alerts by emailing ES.updates@gov.ab.ca.