The Employment Standards Act is one of the law which governs labour rights in Alberta. The Act sets out minimum standards of employment for employees and employers – that is, the rights and responsibilities of each party as relates to conduct and treatment in the workplace.
Minimum standards of employment are contained in the Employment Standards Code and Regulation and set standards for:
- Employees under 18
- General holidays and general holiday pay
- Hours of work, rest periods and days of rest
- Maternity and parental leave
- Minimum wage
- Overtime hours and pay
- Payment of earnings
- Reservists leave
- Termination of employment and termination pay
- Vacations and vacation pay
Additional details, and the full text of the Act can be found at here.
Exceptions to employment standards
Employment standards apply to nearly all employees and employers in Alberta, including full-time, part-time, temporary, casual, piecework, commissioned and salaried employees. However, there are certain industries or working arrangements to which the Act, or certain minimum standards within it, do not apply. These include:
- Construction industry
- Seasonal labour
- Agricultural industry
- Oilwell servicing
- Federal government departments, agencies and boards
Some workplaces have unique circumstances which make adherence to one or another statute in the Act impractical. In such cases, employers or industries can apply for a “variation” or “relief” from a standard.
Employment Standards and employee rights protection
The Employment Standards Act is designed specifically to provide employment protections, however the Alberta Human Rights Act also covers broader universal rights that may apply within the field of employment law. Identifying rights and knowing how each Act applies is not always easy. Before launching a grievance or action based on protections within the Acts, seek legal counsel.
If you live in the greater Edmonton area and you suspect your employee rights have been violated, contact the Lypkie Henderson Employment Law office to arrange a consultation.