COVID-19 Updates: State of public health emergency declared.
Following direction and recommendations provided by the chief medical officer of health, employers have had to adjust operations significantly. The Government of Alberta is taking immediate action to allow employers to appropriately respond to public health measures and at the same time allow employees to remain attached to jobs and have the ability to access federal assistance programs.
“The health and safety of Albertans continues to be our top priority. The Government of Alberta is doing everything it can to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Changes to the Employment Standards Code will ensure Albertans can care for themselves and their loved ones during these challenging times, while providing flexibility to Alberta’s job creators.”
“Our industry has been one of the hardest hit so far by COVID-19, with nearly two-thirds of our workforce now lost. These changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code will help food service businesses adapt as needed to the evolving public health situation so that they can remain operational during this extraordinarily difficult time. As Alberta’s third largest private sector employer, the 150,000 workers typically working in our industry depend on the ability of restaurants to be able to survive and recover from this crisis. These changes will build on our efforts to safeguard public health and ensure business continuity as much as possible. They will help provide the relief our job creators need to reopen and rehire once we get through this crisis.”
Changes for employees
- Employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19 will have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The 90-day employment requirement is waived and leave length is flexible.
Changes for employees and employers
- Increasing the maximum time for a temporary layoff from 60 days to 120 days to ensure temporarily laid off employees stay attached to a job longer. This change is retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.
Changes for employers
- Improving scheduling flexibility by removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes, and the two weeks’ notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
- Removing the requirement to provide the group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated.
- Streamlining the process for approvals related to modifying employment standards so employers and workers can respond quicker to changing conditions at the workplace due to the public health emergency.
The changes above take effect immediately and will be in place as long as government determines it is needed and the public health emergency order remains.
Alberta has a comprehensive response to COVID-19 including measures to enhance social distancing, screening and testing. Financial supports are helping Alberta families and businesses.