Wage employment directive

This directive describes the conditions required for wage employment.

About this directive

Reference to applicable legislation (act or regulation):

Section 26, Public Service Act

Part 2, Sections 3 to 6, Public Service Employment Regulation

Article 4, Collective Agreement

Application:Wage employees as defined in the Public Service Act.
Last updated:February 2022
Last reviewed:February 2022
Amended by:Alberta Public Service Commission:
Strategic Services and Public Agency Secretariat; Workforce Policy Branch, Workforce Policy


Departments may identify a need for a short-term or casual workforce that is not suitably met by permanent or temporary salaried employees. In these circumstances the use of wage employees may be appropriate.


This directive describes the conditions required for wage employment, the status of wage employees under the Public Service Act, eligibility for competitions, qualifications, and benefit entitlements and termination notice.

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

Definition of terms

Disclaimer: If there are any discrepancies in how the terms are defined below and the Public Service Act and Public Service Employment Regulation, the act and regulation supersede.

Wage 1450: an employee hired for wage employment who has worked fourteen hundred and fifty (1450) hours, exclusive of overtime, in a twelve (12) month period.

Wage 2850: an employee hired for wage employment who has worked twenty eight hundred and fifty (2850) hours, exclusive of overtime, in a twenty-four (24) month period with the same department.

Wage employee: a person employed in or under any department of the government, including the Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly, who is paid at an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly rate.

Conditions for wage employment

Government departments can hire wage employees under the following conditions:

  • 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
  • to address short term work pressure
  • 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.

Status of wage employees

While wage employees are not appointed under Section 2(5) of the Public Service Act, the following sections of the act still apply: Section 20 (Oath of office), Section 24 (Certain dealings by employees prohibited) and Section 26 (Wage employees).

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 appointed to those positions.


Wage employees must be qualified for the work they will be doing. Managers and/or human resource professionals must identify a list of duties and assign a pay range that reflects the kind and level of work the wage employee will do. Formal position classification is not required.

Since individuals hired for wage employment are not employees under the Public Service Act, the requirements for recruiting to salaried public service positions do not apply.

Benefit entitlements and termination notice

The Collective Agreement (bargaining unit employees) and Public Service Employment Regulation (opted out and excluded employees) identify the benefit entitlements for 1450 hour and 2850 hour wage employees.

The Public Service Employment Regulation and the Collective Agreement describe the termination notice requirements for bargaining unit and opted out and excluded wage employees.