This directive outlines the terms and conditions for an Hours of Work Averaging Agreement (HWAA), including occupational health and safety considerations. It describes how an HWAA affects casual and general illness leave, vacation leave, time off without pay, paid holidays, and overtime.

Implementing an HWAA

Except as provided by the Public Service Commissioner, a deputy head may agree to an HWAA if:

  • normal work hours specified in the Master Agreement and Subsidiary Agreements for each employee are not exceeded
  • department offices remain open from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday, except for recognized holidays
  • service to the public is maintained

An HWAA can be between a group of employees and a deputy head or between an individual employee and a deputy head.

A group HWAA can be entered into at the request of a group of employees or a deputy head, with consent to enter the agreement by majority support of the affected employees. If a group agreement is in place, any new employees hired into the workplace are deemed to consent and are bound by the agreement.

An individual HWAA can be entered into at the request of an individual employee or a deputy head.

A deputy head and an individual employee or a group of employees may enter into an HWAA consisting of a 4-day work week or a bi-weekly combination of 4 work days one week and 5 work days the next week (4/5-day work week).

A deputy head must obtain authorization from the Public Service Commissioner before entering into an HWAA consisting of a 3-day work week or any other combination. Employees who work a 3-day week are entitled to three 15-minute rest periods for each day they work. Rest periods cannot be within the first or last hour of a work period.

An HWAA must be in writing and must include:

  • the start and end date
    • the term of an HWAA cannot exceed 2 years unless it is part of the collective agreement (for example, a letter of understanding), in which case it terminates the day a subsequent collective agreement comes into effect
  • the number of weeks over which the hours will be averaged
  • the work schedule, identifying all the work days and the number of hours to be worked on each of the work days in the averaging period
    • only one work schedule per agreement
    • scheduled daily and weekly hours of work cannot exceed:
      • 12 hours per day, and
      • 44 hours per week or an average of 44 hours per week
  • the manner in which overtime pay and time off with pay will be calculated

Employees must be provided with a copy of the HWAA as soon as possible, but no later than the commencement of the HWAA. A copy of a group HWAA must be posted where it can be seen by affected employees.

If an HWAA is amended, a copy must be provided to the employee(s) before the amendments come into effect.

A deputy head can occasionally make a temporary change to the work schedule that was not requested by the employee(s) if they provide the employee(s) with 2 weeks' notice. If a change is made with less than 2 weeks' notice, any hours worked in excess of 7.25 hours (or other normal daily hours of work for the employee's classification) that were not in the previous schedule are calculated as overtime hours. Exceptions exist if the change was made because:

  • an accident occurs
  • urgent work is necessary
  • an unforeseen or unpreventable circumstance occurs

However, 24 hours' notice of shift changes and 8 hours rest between shifts is always required.

The Employer and employees may renegotiate or cancel the individual or group (if majority consents) HWAA at any time. Either party to the HWAA may cancel the agreement with 30 days' notice. Cancellation takes effect at the end of the averaging period in which the 30 days' notice ends, which may be longer than 30 days in some cases. However, an individual employee cannot exit a group HWAA.

Occupational health and safety considerations

When employees perform hazardous work or are responsible for the care or custody of people, the deputy head will obtain an evaluation of the working conditions that considers the longer hours from Occupational Health and Safety, Public Service Commission before agreeing to an HWAA.

Casual and general illness leave

Employees who work under an HWAA will be entitled to casual illness leave in each employment year as follows:

  • 9 days per year for employees working a 4/5-day week
  • 8 days per year for employees working a 4-day week
  • 6 days per year for employees working a 3-day week

General illness leave is reduced as follows:

  • 1 1/9 days for each HWAA work day of illness when employees work a 4/5-day week
  • 1 1/4 days for each HWAA work day of illness when employees work a 4-day week
  • 1 1/2 days for each HWAA work day of illness when employees work a 3-day week

General illness calculations that result in a fraction of a day will be rounded to the next half day.

Vacation leave

Vacation leave for employees working under an HWAA is determined by multiplying their entitlement for annual vacation by:

  • 0.9 when they work a 4/5-day week
  • 0.8 when they work a 4-day week
  • 0.6 when they work a 3-day week

Time off without pay

If employees have been given time off without pay, the deduction of days will be pro-rated according to the HWAA. When employees are absent for all scheduled work days in a pay period, a full pay period's salary will be deducted.

Paid Holidays

When employees are not required to be at work on a paid holiday, and that paid holiday falls on a regular HWAA day of rest, they will be paid 7.25 hours (or other normal daily hours of work for the employee's classification) for the paid holiday. They will be given another day of rest at a time they determine with their supervisor.

When a paid holiday is a regular day of work for a bargaining unit employee working under an HWAA, the Master Agreement provisions apply. The opted out and excluded provisions apply to opted out or excluded employees.


Overtime provisions apply when employees are authorized to work hours in excess of the daily hour requirement of the HWAA.

Bargaining unit employees are paid overtime according to the Master Agreement and Subsidiary Agreements. Opted out or excluded employees are paid overtime according to the Overtime Directive.

About this directive

Authority: Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 880 KB)
Master Agreement, Article 16 and Supplement II
Application: Organizations under the Public Service Act
Effective Date: January 1, 2018
Contact: Alberta Public Service Commission:
Labour and Employment Practices; Labour and Employment Policy

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