Table of contents

Basic rules

  • Employers are legally obligated to pay judgments against them.
  • If an employer doesn’t pay a judgment by the payment deadline, there are tools available to try to collect what an employee is owed.
  • Employees have choices on how to collect judgments if an employer fails to pay.The choice made when submitting a complaint affects what happens during collection.

Payment deadlines

An Employment Standards judgment can be collected upon when either:

  • an order of an officer or Director hasn’t been complied with and the 21-day appeal period has expired
  • a decision of an appeal body hasn’t been complied with by the specified date

Employee choices for collections

To attempt collection, an employee may:

  • request the services of the Employment Standards’ Collections Unit, at no cost
  • attempt collection on their own, either directly or through a third-party collection agency

One of these options must be chosen when filing a complaint and an employee may wish to obtain advice from a lawyer, collection agency or civil enforcement agency at any time.

Employment Standards Collections Unit

Employment Standards offers the service of attempting to collect a judgment on the employee’s behalf. The employee must provide consent on the complaint form.

Current unsatisfied judgements – (searchable list)

When the employee provides consent

If the employee allows Employment Standards to collect on their behalf, the Collections Unit will try to collect the judgment, usually through a contracted collection agency.

When the collection agency is able to collect an amount from the employer that’s:

  • full amount due – employee receives the full amount owed
  • less than full amount due – employee receives 80% of what’s collected and the agency retains 20%

The advantage of this choice is that Employment Standards will manage collections on behalf of the employee and there are no fees paid by the employee.

When an employee chooses not to provide consent

If an employee doesn’t provide consent to the Employment Standards Collections Unit at the time of filing a complaint, they will be responsible for their own collection.


An employee may instead choose to pursue collections themselves.

An Employment Standards order is filed with the Court when the payment deadline passes. A filed order has the same legal status as a Court judgment and an employee has various ways of their choice to attempt collection:

  • lawyer
  • collection agency
  • civil enforcement agency

These methods may have associated costs, which the employee would be responsible for.

A civil enforcement agency may be engaged if the employee knows of assets belonging to the employer. Seizure of assets involves several steps and has costs associated with it.

In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.

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