Employment standards rules – Payment of earnings

Employers must follow rules for paying employees and providing pay statements.

Basic rules

Employers must pay their employees at least once a month, or use one of the following pay periods listed below:

  • daily
  • weekly
  • bi-weekly
  • semi-monthly

Employers must also:

  • provide employees with a statement of earnings for each pay period
  • keep employment records for 3 years
  • pay employees within 10 consecutive days after the end of the pay period, unless employment is terminated

How earnings are paid

  • Employers must pay an employee at least the minimum wage.
  • Employees must be paid in Canadian currency.
  • Employees may be paid by cash, cheque or similar document, drawn on an insured financial institution, such as a chartered bank or credit union.
  • Employees may be paid by direct deposit into an account of their choice, in any recognized financial institution.
  • Employers must pay employees within 10 consecutive days from the end of the pay period, unless employment is terminated. An employee isn’t considered paid until they’ve received the funds.

Termination of employment

When employment is terminated, employees must be paid their earnings as follows:

  • within 10 consecutive days after the end of the pay period in which termination occurred, or
  • 31 consecutive days after the last day of employment.

The employer may choose whichever option best suits their needs.

See Termination and termination pay for more information.

Timelines that are calculated in days are always based on calendar days, not business days.

Pay statements

An employer must provide an employee with a statement of earnings at the end of each pay period that shows all of the following:

  • statement period
  • regular and overtime hours of work
  • wage rate and overtime rate
  • earnings paid, listing items separately (for example: wages, overtime, general holiday pay and vacation pay),
  • deductions from earnings and the reason for each deduction
  • hours taken off in lieu of overtime

Electronic statements are acceptable if employees have confidential access to and can view and print them.

Privacy legislation may require an employer to maintain the confidentiality of the employee’s payroll information.

Reducing an employee’s earning

An employer must notify the employee before the start of the pay period in which the reduction takes effect, if they intend to reduce an employee's:

  • wage rate
  • overtime rate
  • general holiday pay
  • vacation pay
  • termination pay

These rates must always be at least the minimum required by the legislated standards.

Learn more about rules on deductions from earnings.

How the law applies

Part 2, Divisions 1 and 2 of the Employment Standards Code set out the rules for the payment of earnings to employees, as well as employment records that employers must provide to their employees. Earnings include wages, overtime pay, vacation pay, general holiday pay and termination pay.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.