New family-friendly workplace rules in place
Alberta’s new employment standards came into effect Jan. 1, protecting the rights of hard-working Albertans, aligning with the rest of Canada and meeting the needs of today’s workplaces.
As part of a commitment to make life better for Alberta workers and their families, the government introduced The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, which was passed by the legislature in June 2017. The Employment Standards Regulation was also updated to better protect workers.
“Albertans deserve fair and family-friendly workplaces that support a strong economy and ensure they can take care of their loved ones. After nearly 30 years of inaction by the previous government, Alberta’s laws were out of date and out of step with the rest of Canada. I’m proud that our government brought forward these modern, fair and balanced laws that protect the rights of hard-working Albertans, support their families and help businesses stay competitive.”
Key changes include:
- Job-protected sick leave, long-term illness and injury leave, care for critical adult or child leave, bereavement leave, domestic violence leave, death or disappearance of a child leave and citizenship leave.
- Expanded compassionate care, maternity and parental leave to align with federal Employment Insurance benefits.
- Eligibility for leaves after 90 days rather than one year
- Overtime banking at 1.5 times the number of hours worked.
- Simplified General Holiday Pay and increased eligibility.
- Clarified standards for vacations and vacation pay.
- New standards for termination, termination, pay, group layoffs and temporary layoffs.
- New penalty system for employers found to be contravening the code or regulation.
- New rules for youth employment are in development and expected to be in place May 1, 2018.
Some changes also apply to waged, non-family workers in Alberta’s agricultural sector. The proposed changes have no effect on youth activities such as 4-H, casual work or branding parties, and ensure friends and neighbours can continue to help each other as they have done for generations.
The Government of Alberta has made several products and services available to help employers and employees learn the new rules, including:
- new website and printable fact sheets
- instructional videos
- live webinars
- posters available for print, download or pre-order
- revised toolkit for employers
- frequently asked questions
Employer groups, non-profit organizations and worker representatives are also encouraged to sign up for an available webinar. Requests for in-person information sessions will be reviewed and considered on an individual basis. To book a session, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employers and employees with questions can also contact the Employment Standards Contact Centre at 780-427-3731 (Edmonton area) or 1-877-427-3731 toll-free. More information is available online at https://www.alberta.ca/employment-standards-changes.aspx.