Oilwell servicing - Employment standards exceptions

There are special provisions to the rules outlined in the Employment Standards Code for oilwell servicing 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

  • The overtime rule for oilwell servicing employees is 12 hours per day or 191 hours per month, whichever is greater.
  • Overtime must be paid for hours worked in excess of 44 hours a week, in either the first or last month of employment if fewer than 191 hours is worked in those months.
  • 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 oilwell servicing.
  • Employees must receive at least 4 days of rest that is free from on call duties in each 28-day period, unless the employee specifically agrees to be on call.

Who’s considered an oilwell servicing employee?

Oilwell servicing is considered work necessary for the completion, recompletion or remedial treatment of an oil or gas well. It includes:

  • drillstem testing
  • production or well testing
  • open hole testing
  • closed hole testing
  • wireline
  • power tong operators
  • mud logging
  • injecting drilling mud and drilling fluids
  • cementing
  • acidizing
  • rathole drilling
  • air quality monitoring
  • oilfield firefighters
  • plugging
  • testing blow out preventers (BOP)
  • running downhole packers
  • installation of submergible pumps
  • install electronic drilling rig instrumentation and hydraulic chokes
  • tubing testing
  • fracturing
  • swabbing
  • tubing and casing pressure testing
  • logging
  • perforating
  • well stimulation
  • fishing
  • thread cleaning
  • water, steam and vacuum truck operators

The following are not considered oilwell servicing employees:

  • employees who work primarily in an office
  • employees involved in the drilling of the well and work performed with a mobile workover or completion service rig

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 brush clearing employees.

Exceptions to the minimum standards for regular and overtime hours

Employees must receive overtime:

  • for hours worked in excess of  12 hours a day or 191 hours a month, whichever is greater
  • for hours worked in excess of 44 hours a week, in either the first or last month of employment if fewer than 191 hours is worked in those months
  • 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 oilwell servicing.

While these employees aren’t restricted by the hours within which they may work, the following should be considered:

  • The employer and employee must comply with safe work practices in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and OHS Code.
  • Under OHS legislation, an employer must ensure the health and safety of its workers. This includes monitoring hours of work if extended hours of work can affect the health and safety of a worker or their co-workers.
  • Workers have a right and a responsibility to refuse work if it appears unsafe.
  • For information about fatigue and safety, please see the Workplace Health and Safety Bulletin, Fatigue and Safety at the Workplace. A copy of this publication can also be obtained from any OHS office in Alberta. To find an office near you, please phone the OHS Contact Centre toll-free at 1-866-415-8690.
  • For more information on Drivers Hours of Service, please contact Carrier Services, a section of Alberta Transportation:
    • Phone: 403-340-5444 (to call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000 first)
    • Fax: 403-340-4806
    • Email: carrier.services@gov.ab.ca

Note:  Some oilwell servicing employees (e.g. water, steam, and vacuum truck operators) may be subject to either the federal or provincial Drivers' Hours of Service Regulations, which govern the maximum driving times and minimum off-duty times of commercial vehicle drivers (both bus and truck).

Days of rest

Employees must receive at least 4 days of rest that is free from on call duties in each 28-day period, unless the employee specifically agrees to be on call.

When travel time is work

When an employer directs an employee in how to travel to the worksite, for example, requiring an employee to take the company bus, the time spent travelling to the worksite becomes work for both the driver and any passengers.

Travel time is work when an employee, whether driver or passenger, goes from:

  • the employer’s business or a place designated by the employer to a worksite and return, or
  • one job site to another job site

Travel time is not work when an employee:

  • is given the choice of travelling from their residence to the worksite on their own, with a co-worker or using transportation provided by the employer

When on call is work

Being on call is generally not considered to be work and wages aren’t payable for on call time, although the employer and employee can agree to some form of pay.

Example: An acceptable on call arrangement that isn’t work is where an employee carries a pager during non-work hours.

An employee is considered to be working and owed wages when an employer places additional responsibilities on the employee during on call periods, such as wearing of uniforms or continuously monitoring radio calls which aren’t solely for that employee.

When standby is work

An employee is considered to be working when directed by the employer to wait at the worksite (on standby).

Bonus payments

  • A bonus must be paid in the same manner as normal wages; within 10 days after the end of the pay period subsequent to the one in which the bonus was earned.
  • When an employee is paid a combination of salary and a bonus:
    • a bonus is not considered to be wages when calculating general holiday pay
    • the employee’s wage rate is considered the minimum wage used to calculate the minimum entitlement to overtime pay and pay for time worked on a general holiday
  • Vacation pay is payable on the entire salary portion, and portion of the bonus remaining, after subtracting overtime (calculated using the employee’s wage rate as the hourly rate).

What additional Employment Standards apply?

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

How the law applies

Part 3, Division 6 of the Employment Standards Regulation outlines the provisions for oilwell servicing 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