​​This directive describes the initiation, approval, documentation requirements, termination, and extension of a contract of employment. It also covers pay adjustments and specific provisions for Ministerial Support Staff.

Conditions for contract use

Subject to the Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 880 KB), the Deputy Minister may, on behalf of the Government, enter into a contract of employment with any person, providing that a contract is justified by operational, budgetary, and market considerations.

All contracts of employment must comply with the guidelines issued by the Public Service Commissioner or delegate.

Under no circumstances is a contract of employment to be used for a person filling a bargaining unit position, providing a bargaining unit service, or occupying a class represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

Contract initiation

Consider these factors to determine if a contract of employment may be a suitable alternative to an appointment to a salaried position:

  • the length of the job
  • current market conditions and the ability to attract candidates
  • unique skills, knowledge, or qualifications required
  • operational or budget implications

Departments are responsible for determining the job class or evaluation rating as the basis for negotiating a rate of pay for the contract. Work being done through a Contract of Employment is not part of the official pay plan or the classification plan, however, departments are expected to consider the pay plan, classification plan and level of work when determining the appropriate salary. Individuals employed through a contract do not have access to the classification appeal process.

Contract approval and authority

The appropriate approval must be in place before contract employment is advertised or negotiations are started. Deputy Minister approval is required.

The negotiated contract terms and provisions with the prospective employee will be consistent with the standard contract provisions. When the Deputy Minister is considering exceptions, the Public Service Commissioner's prior approval is required.

The Public Service Commissioner may delegate to the deputy head the authority to establish guidelines for contract use for specific positions or classes of positions.


When a contract of employment has been entered into, amended, or renewed, the Deputy Minister will provide a copy to the Public Service Commissioner.

Contract term​ination

All contracts of employment must contain a clause stating the required notice period for termination by either the employee or employer. The maximum notice period for a contract of employment is normally six months. The Public Service Commissioner will only consider extending the notice period in exceptional circumstances. The employer can terminate the contract at any time without notice for just cause.

Contract​ extensions

Determine whether an extension (or renewal) is required in advance of the contract expiry date, obtain the appropriate approvals and notify the employee accordingly.

Pay adju​stments

The Deputy Minister may authorize a pay adjustment for contract employees as set out in pay policies approved for management, opted out, excluded, or excluded administrative support classes.

Pay adjustments are normally effective on the anniversary date of the employee.

Ministerial su​​pport staff

The Deputy Clerk of Executive Council and Deputy Secretary to Cabinet in consultation with the Premier’s Chief of Staff will determine and/or negotiate the salary, term, and benefits for contracts of employment for a Minister’s Secretary and Minister's Administrative Assistant. The Office of the Premier must be consulted before granting exceptions to the standard contract for ministerial support staff.

Related i​​nformation

For information on determining the type of employment relationship (contract of employment or fee for service contract), see directive Contract of Employment or Fee for Service Contract. For guidelines on determining the terms of a contract of employment, see directive Contract of Employment Salary, Length, and Benefits. For information on the re-employment of Pensioners, see Directive Temporary Re-Employment of Pensioners under the Public Service Pension Plan or under the Management Employees Pension Plan.

About this directive

Authority: Public Service Act (Section 28)
Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 880 KB)
Application: Organizations under the Public Service Act
Effective Date: June 29, 2009
Contact: Alberta Public Service Commission:
Labour and Employment Practices; Classification, Compensation and Benefit Services

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