Overview

​​This directive outlines the status, eligibility for competitions, and qualifications of wage employees under the Public Service Act. It sets out when wage employees can be hired and the notice period required when a wage employee is terminated. Benefit entitlements are also covered, including information on additional entitlements wage employees receive when they have worked 1,450 or 2,850 hours, and the effective date of additional benefits.

Unless otherwise specified, this directive applies to bargaining unit, opted out, and excluded employees.

Status

Wage employees are not appointed to positions, so provisions of the Public Service Act generally do not apply to them. Exceptions are Section 20 (oath of office), Section 24 (acquiring an estate or interest in Crown land), and Section 26 (wage employees). A wage hire is not considered an appointment under Section 2(5) of the ​Public ​Service Act.

Purpose

Government departments can hire wage employees under any of the following circumstances:

  • to provide a casual workforce to meet short-term staffing needs
  • for non-permanent work for irregular or uncertain periods
  • for short-term cover-offs
  • for short-term overload
  • when seasonal conditions affect the nature and scheduling of work

Wage employment is not intended to replace salaried positions and can only be used for non-management work.

Eligibility for competitions

Wage employees are eligible for consideration on open competitions, but not on limited or departmental competitions. Wage employees assigned to temporary positions for benefits purposes are not considered appointed to those positions.

Qualifications

Since individuals hired on a wage basis are not considered employees under the Public Service Act, the procedural requirements for staffing salaried public service positions do not apply. Wage employees must be qualified for the work they will be doing.

Identify a list of duties and assign a pay range that reflects the kind and level of work the wage employee does. Formal position classification is not required.

Benefit entitlements

​Bargaining unit wage employees are covered by the​ ​Collec​tive Agreement.

The following benefit entitlements apply to non-bargaining unit wage employees.

A wage employee is paid an hourly rate of pay based on the class assigned, and:

  • instead of paid holidays, at 5.2 percent of regular wage earnings
  • for working on a paid holiday, pay at one and one-half times the applicable hourly rate for hours worked up to the equivalent normal daily hours, and double time thereafter
  • instead of annual vacation pay, at 6 percent of regular wage earnings

1,450 hour employees

The benefit entitlements for wage employees change when they have worked 1,450 hours.

Effective Date: The effective date for starting additional entitlements is the first day after the 1,450 hours are attained. Notify the employee of the added entitlements.

Entitlements for bargaining unit employees are contained in the​ Collec​tive Agreement.

A wage employee has worked 1,450 hours when:

  • the hours include only straight time hours worked as a wage employee or in a salaried position, and do not include overtime hours
  • these hours are worked in the previous 12 months and accumulated in any department or class.

In addition to the above entitlements, a wage employee who has worked 1,450 hours is entitled to six full days of sick leave, renewable annually, and one percent of regular wages. The six days of sick leave can be administered on an hourly basis and can be used for medical appointments as well as for illness leave. Departments can require proof of attendance at a medical appointment or provision of a medical certificate.

When hiring a wage employee, review any previous service to determine whether such service would qualify the employee for the 1,450 hour entitlements.

The additional entitlements cease when, at the wage employee's own discretion, a wage employee's service breaks for a period that exceeds 90 calendar days. These entitlements also cease when the wage employee is terminated and not rehired within 90 calendar days. Wage employees must requalify to have them reinstated.

2,850 hour employees

The benefit entitlements for wage employees change again when they have worked for 2,850 hours.

Effective Date: The effective date for starting additional entitlements is the first day of the bi-weekly pay period following the date that the 2,850 hours are attained. Notify the employee of the added entitlements.

Entitlements for bargaining unit employees are contained in the ​Collec​tive Agreement.

A wage employee has worked 2,850 hours when:

  • the hours worked include only straight time hours worked as a wage employee or in a salaried position, including any paid leave, and do not include overtime hours
  • the hours are worked in the previous 24 months
  • the 24 months are worked in the same department. When the wage employee continues to work in a newly created department following a change of name, merger, or dissolution, this work will be included in the 2,850 hours.

A wage employee who has worked 2,850 hours is entitled to the same provisions as an employee appointed to a temporary position as set out in the directive Temporary Employment.

When hiring a wage employee, review any previous service to determine whether such service would qualify the employee for the 2,850 hour entitlements.

A permanent employee who intends to resign or has resigned and is being considered for wage employment may make a request to the deputy head that the employee be entitled to payments applicable to a new wage employee.

Termination notice

A wage employee who does not have two years of continuous​ employment (PDF, 880 KB) must receive five work days' notice of termination or one day's pay for each work day by which the notice is short.

A wage employee who has at least two years of continuous employment immediately preceding the date the employment ends must receive 1.5 working weeks' notice of termination of employment for each complete year of service to a maximum of 25 weeks, or the employer may pay the employee instead of part or all of this notice period.

About this directive

Authority: Public Service Act (Section 26)
Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 880 KB)
Collective Agreement, Article 4
Application: Organizations under the Public Service Act
Effective Date: March 5, 2019
Contact:

Alberta Public Service Commission:
Labour and Employment Practices; Talent Acquisition and Mobility
Labour and Employment Practices; Labour and Employment Policy