Employment standards changes that apply to the agriculture sector comes into effect January 31, 2020.

Overview

Employment standards legislation sets minimum requirements for hours of work, overtime, overtime pay, holidays and general holiday pay, vacations, vacation pay, minimum wage and employees under the age of 18.

Who’s affected

Employment standards only apply to farms and ranches with six or more waged, non-family employees who have worked at least 6 consecutive months. Operations with five or fewer waged, non-family employees are exempt from employment standards.

Rules do not apply to:

  • farm owners or their spouses, common-law partners or adult-interdependent partners
  • family members of farm owners or their spouses, common-law partners or adult-interdependent partners
  • non-employee relatives, friends and neighbours helping out
  • children doing chores or participating in activities such as 4-H or helping neighbours and friends
  • participating in recreational activities such as hunting on farmland

Exceptions to employment standards

The following special rules apply to waged, non-family workers on farms and ranches that employ six or more such workers for at least 6 consecutive months:

  • Hours of work and overtime – farms and ranches are not subject to the current standards on hours of work and overtime due to the extended working hours required during harvest and seeding.
  • General holiday pay – will be based on 4.2% of the previous 4 weeks’ wages, vacation pay, and general holiday pay.
  • Rest periods – employees are entitled to 4 days of rest for every 28 days of work. Selection of the days of rest is at the employers discretion if the employer and employee can’t agree.

Employment standards

The following rules apply to waged, non-family workers on farms and ranches that employ six or more such workers for at least 6 consecutive months:

  • Minimum wage
    • $15 per hour
    • $13 per hour for students under 18 years of age
  • Unpaid, job-protected leaves after 90 days of work
    • maternity leave (16 weeks)
    • parental leave (37 weeks)
    • reservist leave (as needed)
    • compassionate care leave (27 weeks)
    • bereavement leave (3 days)
    • domestic violence leave (10 days)
    • citizenship ceremony leave (half day)
    • critical illness of a child leave (36 weeks)
    • long-term illness and injury leave (16 weeks)
    • personal and family responsibility leave (5 days)
    • death or disappearance of a child leave (52 weeks/104 weeks)
  • Vacations and vacation pay
    • 2 weeks of vacation after one year employment
    • 3 weeks of vacation after 5 years
    • 4% vacation pay up to 5 years of employment
    • 6% vacation pay after 5 years

Family members

Employment standards do not apply to family members of the owner or owner's spouse, common-law partner or adult-interdependent partner. Owner means a shareholder, sole proprietor or partner.

All of the following are considered family members:

  • children, step-children
  • parent, step-parent
  • sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling
  • grandparent, step-grandparent
  • aunt, uncle, step-aunt or uncle
  • niece, nephew
  • first cousin

Youth workers

Alberta’s youth employment rules do not apply to farms and ranches.

Greenhouses, nurseries, mushroom and sod farms

These operations are considered farms and ranches for purposes of employment standards. Operations employing six or more waged, non-family workers who have worked for the same employer for at least 6 consecutive months are subject to employment standards and the special farm and ranch rules mentioned above. Operations employing five or fewer waged, non-family workers are exempt from all employment standards laws.

An operation that produces cannabis in a greenhouse is not considered a farm or ranch and is subject to regular employment standards laws.

Contact

Employment standards:

Phone: 780-427-3731 (Edmonton)
Toll free: 1-877-427-3731

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