Table of contents

Basic rules

  • Employers must pay at least the minimum wage.
  • The current general minimum wage applies to all employees, with the exception of students under 18.
  • A new job creation student wage was implemented June 26, 2019. Restrictions apply.
  • Wages don’t include tips or expense money.
  • There are separate weekly and monthly minimum wages for some salespersons and domestic employees.
  • Employees must be paid at least 3 hours of pay at the minimum wage each time they go to work even if they’re sent home after less than 3 hours, unless the employee is not available to work the 3 hours.  There are some exceptions to this rule for employees in the Employment Standards Regulation (Part2, Section 11) or where a variance has been issued.
  • Maximum deductions below minimum wage for provided meals and lodging are $3.35 per consumed meal and $4.41 per day’s lodging.

Minimum wage rates for 2018-2019

The following minimum wage rates are set out in the Employment Standards Regulation:

Type of employee October 1, 2018 Jun 26, 2019
Most employees (general minimum wage) $15/hour $15/hour
Students under 18 $15/hour $13/hour (restrictions apply)
Salespersons (including land agents and certain professionals) $598/week $598/week
Domestic employees (living in their employer’s home) $2,848/month $2,848/month

Job creation student wage rates

The Employment Standards (Minimum Wage) Amendment Regulation introduces a job creation student wage.

New rules

The minimum wage for students under 18 is $13/hour as of June 26, 2019. Employers can still choose to pay students more than this minimum wage.

This new rate applies to the first 28 hours worked in a week when school is in session. Students must be paid the general minimum wage of $15/hour for any hours exceeding 28 hours in one week. Overtime rules still apply.

  • For example, a student who worked 30 hours in a week can be paid as low as $13/hour for the first 28 hours, but must be paid no less than $15/hour for the 2 additional hours they worked.
  • The new job creation student wage of $13/hour will apply to all regular hours worked when school is not in session, such as during spring break, Christmas break or during the summer vacation period. Overtime rules still apply.

Who the job creation student wage applies to:

  • The job creation student wage applies to any student under 18 who attends school up to grade 12, post-secondary or vocational school.
  • Subject to any limitations that may apply as a result of an individual contract of employment or an applicable collective agreement, if a student is already working and making $15/hour or more, the employer may choose to reduce their wage to as low as $13/hour, but not lower.
  • In all circumstances an employer must tell the employee that they are going to reduce the employee's wage before the start of the pay period when this lower wage would take effect.
  • The job creation student wage only applies to students enrolled in an educational institution and does not apply to youth who are out of school.

Information on the job creation student wage is available for employers and students.

Weekly minimum wage rates

Employees entitled to the weekly minimum wage rate earn $598 per week.

Eligible employees:

  • direct selling salesperson
  • commission salesperson (other than a route salesperson) selling goods that will be delivered later
  • car, truck, recreational vehicle, or bus salesperson
  • manufactured home salesperson
  • farm machinery salesperson
  • heavy duty construction equipment or road construction equipment salesperson
  • residential home salesperson employed by builder
  • land agent
  • architect
  • accountant
  • chiropractor
  • dentist
  • engineer or other geoscientist
  • lawyer
  • optometrist
  • podiatrist
  • psychologist
  • veterinarian
  • agrologist
  • denturist
  • information systems professional

Domestic employee wage rates

Minimum wage rates

  • For domestic employees who live in their employer’s homes:  $2,848 per month.
  • For domestic employees who don’t live in their employer’s home:  $15 per hour.

Eligible employees

A domestic employee is a person employed to work in the employer’s residence, for the care, comfort and convenience of members of that residence. Casual babysitting isn’t considered domestic employment.

All domestic employees are entitled to:

  • the minimum wage
  • general (statutory) holidays with pay
  • a copy of their statement of earnings and deductions for each pay period
  • a rest period of at least 30 minutes, paid or unpaid, for each consecutive 5 hours of work
  • at least 1 day of rest in each work week
  • vacations and vacation pay
  • notice of termination of employment
  • job-protected leaves

For employees who live in their employer’s home:

  • employers are required to pay the full monthly minimum wage rate, regardless of the number of hours worked
  • pro-rating of the monthly minimum wage is permitted where the employee agrees to work for a portion of a month, such as mornings only
  • the maximum allowable deductions an employer can make are $4.41 per night of lodging, and $3.35 per meal; deductions can’t be made for meals not consumed

For employees who don't live in their employer’s home:

  • the minimum wage rate applies for all hours worked
  • meal deductions from the minimum wage rate cannot exceed $3.35 per meal consumed

The following employment standards don’t apply to domestic employees:

  • overtime compensation
  • restrictions on maximum hours of work

Hours of work

Employees asked to work for short periods

3-hour minimum

Employees must be paid for at least 3 hours of pay at the minimum wage each time they’re required to report to work, or come to work for short periods. This 3-hour minimum doesn’t apply if the employee isn’t available to work the full 3 hours.

If an employee works for fewer than 3 consecutive hours, the employer must pay wages that are at least equal to 3 hours at the minimum wage.

If an employee’s regular wage is greater than the minimum wage, the employer may pay them for less than 3 hours of work at this higher rate.

2-hour minimum

The following employees must be paid minimum compensation for at least 2 hours at not less than minimum wage:

  • school bus drivers
  • part-time employees of non-profit recreation or athletic programs run by a municipality, Metis Settlement or community service organization
  • home care employees
  • adolescents (13, 14 and 15 years of age) who work on a school day

See youth employment laws for more information.

Employees working split shifts

If an employee is required to work a split shift and there’s more than a 1-hour break between the 2 segments of the shift, the employee must be paid the minimum compensation described above for each segment of their shift.

Employees attending a compulsory meeting or scheduled training session

If the meeting or training occurs on an employee’s regularly scheduled day off, the employee must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime if applicable. If the meeting or training is less than 3 hours in length, the 3-hour minimum rule applies.

Please also note:

  • if an employee returns to work to attend the meeting or training after completing their shift, the employee must be paid the wages agreed to or overtime if applicable, whichever is greater
  • the rate of pay for meetings or training cannot be less than the minimum wage
  • the pay received by the employee must equal or exceed the amount described in the section on minimum compensation for short periods of work
  • if the meeting or training isn’t compulsory but is directly related to the employee’s work, and the employee attends, they must be paid the wages agreed to, and overtime if applicable; the employee must receive at least the minimum compensation as described above

Employees ‘on call’ or ‘on standby’ at home

  • if an employee isn’t required to perform work at home, no payment is required; being ‘on call’ or ‘on standby’ is not considered work
  • if an employee is required to work at home, the employee must be paid for hours worked at their regular rate of pay, plus applicable overtime, for the actual time worked
  • if the employee is required to leave home and report to the worksite, the minimum compensation for short periods of work as previously described is applicable once the employee reports to work

Incentive-based pay or commission

To calculate whether an employee earning incentive-based pay or commission has received a rate of at least minimum wage for all hours worked in a pay period, the employer must determine if the minimum compensation entitlement has been met.

Minimum compensation entitlement

An employee’s wages are totaled for the pay period set by the employer (maximum 1 month) and then divided by the total number of hours worked in that pay period. Also:

  • if the calculated hourly wage rate is less than the minimum wage, the employee must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked
  • if the calculated rate is higher than the minimum wage, the employee must be paid their incentive-based pay or commission

This section doesn’t apply to employees who are entitled to a weekly minimum wage, because no record of daily hours is required to be maintained.

Allowable deductions

Meals and lodging

Employers can, with written authorization from the employee, reduce the employee’s wages below the minimum wage by a maximum of:

  • $4.41 for each day the employer provides the employee with lodging
  • $3.35 for each meal consumed by the employee; deductions can’t be made for meals not consumed


Deductions for uniforms aren’t allowed. This includes any costs associated with the purchase, use, cleaning or repair of a uniform, or any other special article of wearing apparel that an employee is required to wear during the their hours of work.

See Payment of earnings for more information.

Exempt occupations

The following employees are exempt from minimum wage standards:

  • real estate brokers
  • securities salespersons
  • insurance salespersons paid entirely by commission
  • students in a work experience program approved by the Alberta government
  • students in an off-campus education program provided under the Education Act
  • extras in a film or video production
  • counsellors or instructors at a non-profit educational or recreational camp for children, handicapped individuals, or religious groups
  • municipal police service members
  • post-secondary academic staff

How the law applies

Section 138(1) (f) of the Employment Standards Code empowers the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations respecting minimum wages.

Part 2 of the Employment Standards Regulation sets the minimum wage for 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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