Basic rules

  • The Employment Standards Code will apply only to farms and ranches with paid employees who are not the owner or related to the owner. Workers who are family members of the owner will be exempt from the Code, including standards that previously applied.
  • The rules about minimum wage, payment of wages, record-keeping (pay stubs), termination notice and pay, job-protected leaves and administration and enforcement apply to all non-family, waged employees on farms and ranches.
  • Employees working in greenhouses, mushroom farms, nurseries or sod farms are not considered “farm and ranch” employees and are covered by all employment standards.
  • Alberta’s youth employment rules don’t apply to farms and ranches.

Who is exempt from the employment standards rules?

The following are exempt from the rules in the Employment Standards Code:

  • Unpaid farm and ranch workers, such as relatives, friends and neighbours helping out.
  • The owner and family members of the owner. Owner means a shareholder, sole proprietor or partner.

Who’s considered a family member?

All of the following are considered family members of the owner and owner’s spouse (married, common-law partner or adult-interdependent partner):

  • spouse (married), common-law partner, or adult-interdependent partner
  • children, step-children, their spouse
  • parent, step-parent, their spouse
  • sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling, their spouse
  • grandparent, step-grandparent, their spouse
  • aunt, uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle, their spouse
  • niece, nephew, their spouse
  • first cousin, their spouse

Non-family, waged employees

Employment standards rules apply to farming and ranching employees who receive wages and are not family members. These non-family, waged employees:

  • are exempt from rules around daily and weekly hours of work and rest
  • must be given four days off within every 28 days
  • are exempt from rules around breaks during shifts
  • are exempt from overtime requirements
  • are entitled to rules regarding minimum wage
  • are entitled to job-protected leaves
  • have their vacation pay calculated based on their total wages
  • are entitled to termination pay and notice in most cases
  • must be given holiday benefits

All non-family, waged employees on farms and ranches are subject to and protected by the normal rules about payment of wages, record-keeping (pay stubs) and administration and enforcement of employment standards.

Rest periods

Employers must provide employees with at least 4 days of rest within every 28 days.

Vacation pay

Employees are entitled to vacation pay calculated on their wages. The calculation of vacation pay is the same as in other industries.

See Vacations and vacation pay for more information.

General holiday pay

General holiday pay varies depending on whether the employee works on the holiday or not.

Not working on a general holiday

If an employee does not work on a general holiday, the employer must:

  • pay the employee general holiday pay of an amount that is at least 4.2% of the employee’s wages, vacation pay and general holiday pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday

Working on a general holiday

If an employee works on a general holiday, the employer must pay an amount that is at least equal to the employee's wage for each hour or work on the general holiday and either:

  • provide one day’s holiday on a day that would normally be a work day for the employee, to be taken within 30 days of the general holiday or at a later time agreed to, in writing, by the employer and employee, and pay the employee an amount that is at least equal to 4.2% of their wages, vacation pay and general holiday pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday, or
  • pay additional general holiday pay for the day of an amount that is at least 4.2% of the employee’s wages, vacation pay and general holiday pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday

See General holidays for more information.

Youth workers on farms and ranches

  • Alberta’s youth employment rules don’t apply to farms and ranches.

How the law applies

Part 1, section 2.1 of the Employment Standards Code and section 43.8-43.84 of the Regulation (Code) sets out the exceptions to the rules for farm and ranch employees.

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

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