Alberta Labour Law Changes Part 1: What it Means for Employees in 2018

    Early last year, Alberta Labour Labour Laws were reviewed in order to modernize codes that had not been updated in almost 30 years. Change was necessary, and although our labour laws aren’t perfect, we were pleased to see our government taking action and putting forth more worker-friendly policies. Here’s a summary of the Labour Code changes regarding compensation.

    Minimum wage

    In the past, companies could secure permits which allowed them to pay employees with disabilities less than minimum wage. Such permits are no longer available, and all Albertans will now be given the opportunity to earn a living wage.

    Holiday pay

    Prior to these changes, employees had to have worked for at least 30 days in the last 12 months before the holiday in order to be eligible for holiday pay. This is no longer the case. All employees are now eligible to receive general holiday pay at 5% of wages, holiday pay, and vacation pay earned in the 4 weeks prior to the holiday.

    Overtime pay

    Overtime pay will still be calculated at 1.5x an employee’s wage. In some cases, Employers will offer employees time off work with pay as a replacement for overtime pay. This is called banked overtime. In the past, an employee had to use their banked overtime within 3 months of earning it. This time has now been extended to 6 months.


    The new labour code explicitly prohibits employers to deduct from salary for faulty work or cash shortages (for example, in dine-and-dash cases).

    Compressed work week

    In the past, an employer could require an employee to work longer hours in a day, but fewer days in the week. This arrangement did not require an employee’s approval. The new Code has replaced the compressed work week with the ‘hours of work averaging agreement.’ This agreement can be entered into by a group of employees or an individual employee, and consent must be given by both employee and the employer.

    These changes are among a host of other amendments that are now being enforced in the new Labour Code. Although these changes may seem small, they are a step in the right direction. We truly believe that Alberta is making important strides when it comes to considering workers, and we think there’s no better way to welcome a new year than with this new and improved labour code.

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