Employment standards variance – Extend days of work

Employers may apply for a variance to extend the consecutive days of work for employees beyond the maximum of 24 consecutive days.

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

  • The Employment Standards Code outlines the minimum required days of rest for each work week:
    • One day of rest is required for each consecutive work week, up to 4 weeks.
    • 4 consecutive days of rest are required after 24 consecutive work days.
    • See rules for hours of work and rest for more information.
  • An employer may apply for a variance to extend the number of consecutive work days beyond the maximum of 24 if it’s necessary to conduct business and the Director sees fit.
  • The Director of Employment Standards issues variances if deemed necessary.
  • The Director may amend or revoke a variance at any time.
  • Permits issued before January 1, 2018 will be honoured, unless revoked.

How to apply for a variance

Step 1. Fill out the form

PDF form instructions

We recommend using Internet Explorer on a desktop computer to download and fill out this form. It may not work with mobile devices or Chrome.

An Application form for Director’s Variance/Exemption (PDF, 2.0 MB) may be submitted to the Director of Employment Standards. Certain criteria must be met and outlined in the application before approval.

Application to the Director

An employer can request a variance or exemption to the minimum standards for one or more employees.

An application for a Director issued variance or exemption must:

  • be submitted to the Director
  • include the employer's name (and operating name if different), address, telephone number and signature of an authorized representative
  • identify the employees to whom the requested variance or exemption would apply
  • specify the provisions of the Code or Regulation for which the variance or exemption is requested
  • explain the extent, impact and duration of the requested variance or exemption and the rationale for the request
  • provide proof of support for the proposed variation or exemption by the affected employees or their bargaining agent
  • address any other requirements specified by the Director

Before issuing a variance or exemption, the Director shall consider:

  • the employment standards and occupational health and safety compliance history of the employer
  • the rationale for the request
  • whether there is employee support for the request
  • any effect the variance or exemption could have on the safety, health or welfare of the public or the affected employees

The Director may consider additional criteria, as appropriate, which may include:

  • best industry practice
  • compliance with any other legislative requirements
  • scheduled hours of work and potential implications for existing overtime and averaging agreements (if applicable)

Step 2. Submit the form

You can submit the form by email, mail or fax.


Fax: 780-422-8944

Mailing address:

Alberta Labour
6th floor, Labour Building
10808 - 99 Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5K 0G5

After an application is reviewed

The Director will notify the employer of a decision on a variance in writing. If the variance or exemption is approved, the employer is responsible for notifying the affected employees.

The Director may amend or revoke the variance at any time.

Publication of variances

Information about variances and exemptions issued by Employment Standards after January 1, 2018 is made public.

Additional information will be available in January, 2018 on how to search for issued variances and exemptions.

See the list of variances issued.

How the law applies

Part 3.1 of the Regulation outlines the variance and exemption application process and section 63.3 outlines publication of variances, exemptions and orders.

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)
1-877-427-3731 (Toll-free)
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)
1-800-232-7215 (Toll-free)