The legislation on this page is now in effect

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

Need help figuring out what rules apply to your situation? Find out by downloading our visual guide: Am I a Caregiver? (PDF, 327 KB)

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; or
  • a homemaking service.

A health care service is:

  • a nursing service;
  • rehabilitation therapy; and
  • health care procedures authorized by a nurse or a rehabilitation therapist.

A personal care service is:

  • personal hygiene care; and
  • assistance with personal activities of daily living.

A homemaking service is:

  • adult sitting and child care;
  • routine housecleaning;
  • laundry;
  • ironing and mending;
  • budgeting;
  • banking;
  • paying bills or shopping for essentials;
  • menu planning or meal preparation; and
  • any home management service.

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).

A home care client is an individual, regardless of age, who:

  • requires home care;
  • is unable to perform daily living activities independently; and
  • is not the employer of the caregiver.

Individuals 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.

Individuals who are not employed directly by their clients to provide home care services in their client’s home are caregivers.

A caregiver may include an individual coming into someone’s home to provide assistance to a person with a physical or developmental disability with:

  • bathing;
  • dressing;
  • feeding;
  • cooking;
  • shopping;
  • paying bills;
  • running errands;
  • giving medicine;
  • and/or making medical decisions.

Additionally, a caregiver may provide:

  • respite services;
  • behavior, developmental, emotional and social support services;
  • intervention services;
  • management of crisis, emergency and unplanned events; and
  • mentoring and group peer support work.

Who’s considered a residential care employee?

Need help figuring out what rules apply to your situation? Find out by downloading our visual guide: Am I a Caregiver? (PDF, 327 KB)

Residential care employees are those who provide:

  • a health care service; or
  • a personal care service.

A health care service is:

  • a nursing service;
  • rehabilitation therapy; and
  • health care procedures authorized by a nurse or a rehabilitation therapist.

A personal care service is:

  • personal hygiene care; and
  • assistance with personal activities of daily living.

Residential care employees do not include those who provide:

  • office or administrative work
  • menu planning and meal preparation
  • housekeeping, janitorial and maintenance services
  • other duties not directly related to the personal care and health care of the client.

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

Residential care clients are individuals, regardless of age, who:

  • require residential care;
  • live or stay in a residential setting; and
  • are not the employer of the caregiver.

Residential setting means a facility that provides any of the following:

  • emergency shelter;
  • addiction treatment;
  • supervision and treatment of young offenders;
  • care and treatment of individuals with emotional or behavioural difficulties; and
  • care and treatment of individuals with physical or developmental disabilities.

An example of a residential caregiver may include an individual who works in a facility with physically or mentally disabled individuals, who require assistance with:

  • bathing;
  • dressing;
  • feeding;
  • giving medicine; and/or
  • making medical decisions.

Another example of a residential caregiver may include an individual who works in an adult emergency shelter or women’s emergency shelter and:

  • monitors for safety;
  • seeks assistance from Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and/or Police Services (RCMP) when necessary;
  • provides support in crisis situations by identifying problems and assisting with problem solving in a way that minimizes the repetition of the crisis;
  • responds to crisis calls;
  • works with clients to identify needs (emotional, parenting, medical, legal, cultural, spiritual, financial, and housing), and develop a relevant case plan); and
  • ensures the physical needs of food, shelter and safety are provided for women and children in crisis.

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, whichever is greater
  • 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

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