Caregivers - Employment standards exceptions

There are special provisions to the rules outlined in the Employment Standards Code for home care and residential care employees.

The legislation on this page comes into effect on January 1, 2018

For information on Employment Standards legislation that is in force until December 31, 2017, go to http://work.alberta.ca/employment-standards.html

Basic rules

  • For shifts less than 24 hours in length, overtime is paid for hours worked in excess of 12 hours a day or 264 hours in a work month.
  • For shifts 24 hours in length, overtime is paid for hours worked in excess of 264 hours in a work month.

Who’s considered a home care employee?

Caregivers are defined in the Co-ordinated Home Care Program Regulation as employees who provide home care and residential care services.

Home care employees are those who provide:

  • health care services
  • personal care services
  • rehabilitation care services
  • routine homemaking services

Home care employees do not include those who provide:

  • heavy housework service
  • handyman service
  • meals on wheels and wheels to meals
  • transportation service
  • office or administrative services

Home care is provided in the client’s residence on a one-on-one basis and the caregiver isn’t employed directly by the client. These employees are usually employed by third parties, usually agencies (for example, nannies employed by an agency).

Caregivers employed directly by their clients to provide home care services in their client’s home are domestic employees. See Domestic employees for more information on employment standards applicable to domestics.

Who’s considered a residential care employee?

Residential care employees are those who provide:

  • health care services
  • personal care services
  • rehabilitation care services
  • routine homemaking services

Residential care employees do not include those who provide:

  • office work
  • menu planning and meal preparation
  • housekeeping, janitorial and maintenance services
  • other duties not directly related to client care

Residential care is provided in a residential setting such as a group home or shelter where employees provide care to several clients at once.

Hours of work and pay

The standard overtime rule of hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week, whichever is greater, doesn’t apply to caregivers.

Exceptions to the minimum standards for regular and overtime hours

Caregivers must receive overtime:

  • for shifts less than 24 hours in length, overtime is paid for hours worked in excess 12 hours a day or 264 hours in a work month
  • for shifts that are 24 hours in length,  overtime is paid for hours worked in excess of 264 hours in a work month
  • at a rate of at least 1.5 times the regular rate of pay, or banked time off with pay at a rate of at least 1.5 times, for all overtime hours worked

Exceptions to the minimum standards for hours of work

The requirement to confine an employee’s hours of work within a period of 12 consecutive hours in a work day doesn’t apply to home care and residential care employees.

Caregivers working a 24-hour shift

Home care employees working a 24-hour shift must receive pay at a rate that is not less than the Minimum wage for 12 hours.

Residential care employees working a 24-hour shift must receive pay at a rate that is not less than the Minimum wage for 24 hours.

Caregivers working less than a 24-hour shift

An employer may designate up to 8 hours as sleep time in each shift that aren’t counted as hours of work when calculating daily or monthly overtime hours.

If an employee works during designated sleep time, the time worked is counted as hours of work and is included when calculating daily and monthly overtime.

Travel time

Home care may involve caregivers visiting several clients in a day, with time spent travelling between clients or period of inactivity.  Travel time or breaks can last anywhere from less than an hour to several hours depending on the needs and location of the client.

2-hour minimum

For each separate period of employment, the employee must receive pay at a rate that is not less than the Minimum wage. Each time a caregiver makes a visit that is separated by an unpaid break or travel time (of any duration), the visit before and after the break are considered separate periods of employment.

For each separate period of employment, the employee must be paid at a rate that is not less than the Minimum wage for the greater of:

  • 2 hours, even if the time working was less than 2 hours
  • the work time spent with the client, paid at the regular wage rate

 If this requirement has been met:

  • the employer isn’t required to pay for the break or travel time
  • an employer may choose to pay through some or all breaks or travel time during the day instead of paying the 2-hour minimum for each separate period of employment

The 2-hour minimum payment requirement doesn’t apply if the employee chooses to be available to work for less than the full 2 hours.

Meal breaks

When there is a meal break of one hour or less between visits, the length of visit before and after the meal break are combined when determining whether an employee has received an equivalent of 2 hours pay. Meal breaks typically include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Caregiver payment for outings with client

When a caregiver accompanies a client on an outing they must be paid at least their regular rate, unless agreed otherwise.

Outings include:

  • a vacation
  • a recreational or educational outing
  • other various outings

What additional Employment Standards apply?

In addition to the special provisions outlined above, all other minimum standards for employment apply to caregivers.  Additional information on these rules can be found at:

How the law applies

Part 3, Division 9 of the Employment Standards Regulation outlines the provisions that apply to caregivers.

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

Contact Employment Standards

780‑427‑3731 (Edmonton and surrounding areas)

For toll-free calling, dial 1‑877‑427‑3731

From a cell phone, call #310 on Telus and Bell or *310 on Rogers.

Ask a question online

TTY/TDD for the deaf or hard of hearing

780‑427‑9999 (Edmonton and surrounding areas)

For toll-free calling, dial 1‑800‑232‑7215