Construction - Employment standards exceptions

There are special provisions to the rules outlined in the Employments Standards Code for some employees in construction related jobs.

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

  • All construction employees are entitled to vacation pay, from the start of employment, at the rate of at least 6% of their regular wages.
  • All construction employees are entitled to general holidays, from the start of employment, at the rate of at least 3.6% of their regular wages.
  • Construction employees are not entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice of termination.
  • The basic overtime rule of 8 hours a day and 44 hours a week applies generally to employees in the construction industry.

Who’s considered a construction employee?

A construction employee is someone employed at the site of and in the construction, erection, repair, remodelling, alteration, painting and interior decoration or demolition of any:

  • building or structure
  • road, highway, railway or airfield
  • sidewalk, curb or gutter
  • pipeline
  • irrigation or drainage system
  • earth and rock fill dam
  • sewage system
  • power transmission line or power distribution system, or
  • gas distribution system

The following are not considered construction employees:

  • employees who perform ongoing maintenance at the site
  • office employees employed at the site

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, applies to construction employees.

Minimum standards for regular and overtime hours

Employees must receive overtime:

  • for hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day or 44 hours per week, whichever is greater
  • at a rate of at least 1.5 times the regular rate of pay, or banked time off at a rate of 1.5 hours for all overtime hours worked as part of an overtime agreement between the employer and employee.

General holidays and pay

Construction employees are entitled to general holiday pay when they begin employment of at least 3.6% of their wages.

Exceptions to the minimum standards for general holidays and general holiday pay

  • Employees aren’t required to be given a day off for the general holiday.
  • If an employee works on a general holiday, it’s treated as a regular day of work with respect to the calculation and payment of wages and overtime pay.
  • General holiday pay must be paid on or before December 31 of each year, or on termination of employment.
  • General holiday pay may be paid each pay period.

Time off with pay instead of overtime pay, as part of an overtime agreement, is considered regular wages and must be included when calculating general holiday pay.

Vacations and vacation pay

Construction employees are entitled to vacation pay when they begin employment of at least 6% of their wages.

Exceptions to the minimum standards for vacations and vacation pay

  • If an employee is given vacation time off, they must receive their vacation pay before the vacation begins.
  • If the employee isn’t given vacation time off, vacation pay must be paid on or before December 31 of each year or on termination of employment. The vacation pay may be paid each pay period.
  • Earning paid time off instead of overtime pay as part of an overtime agreement is considered regular wages and must be included when calculating vacation pay.

Termination and termination pay

Construction employees are not entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice of termination.

What additional Employment Standards apply?

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

How the law applies

Part 4 of the Employment Standards Regulation outlines the provisions that apply to construction employees, including alternate standards for general holidays and general holiday pay and vacations and vacation pay as listed in sections 44 - 50. In addition, Part 1, Section 5 of the Employment Standards Regulation sets out the exemption to termination notice and pay for construction employees.

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