Employment Standard Code Alberta

The Alberta Employment Standards Code regulates employment in the province. It defines the minimum standards for basic conditions of employment in Alberta, such as hours of work, overtime, minimum wage, leaves of absence, termination notice and pay. The Alberta ESC also outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of employers and employees. 

The minimum standards set down in the Alberta Employment Standards Code apply to all provincially regulated workplaces. However, these Alberta labour standards are a basic minimum. If employers wish to, they can offer higher wages or more benefits to their employees, but they cannot offer less than the minimum entitlements mentioned in the ESC. 

Employers regulated by the Employment Standards Code should ensure that policies, procedures and operating practices are compliant with the ESC. This includes the following areas:

  • Hours of work and rest periods
  • Pay deductions
  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime pay
  • Holiday entitlement and pay
  • Vacation entitlement and pay
  • Termination
  • Temporary layoffs
  • Youth employment

Please note that employers can’t intimidate, punish, or terminate an employee for asking questions about the ESC or the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), or exercising their rights under the ESC or OHSA, such as taking a leave of absence or refusing unsafe work.

Who is not covered by the Alberta Employment Standards Code?

The Alberta Employment Standards Code does not apply to employees working in federally regulated industries, self-employed workers, and contractors. Volunteers, family members, and farm and ranch workers employed on small farms are also exempted from the ESC. 

The Employment Standards Code sets down special provisions to the rules outlined for ambulance attendants, caregivers, construction workers, domestic employees, firefighters, teachers, taxicab drivers, salespersons & direct sellers, etc. 

Please note that though municipal police service staff is governed by the Police Act, provisions relating to maternity and parental leave, reservist leave, or compassionate care leave still apply to them.  

What are the ESC regulations relating to youth employment in Alberta?

The ESC limits the kinds of jobs those under 18 years of age can do. While some jobs for individuals under 14 may require a government permit, parent or guardian consent is required for all jobs. 

Employees aged 13 to 14 may be employed in the following roles without a permit: 

  • delivering flyers, newspapers, and handbills 
  • food service staff in a restaurant or other food establishment where food is prepared and served or sold 
  • light janitorial work in offices 
  • clerk or messenger in an office or retail store 
  • delivery person for small goods and merchandise for a retail store 
  • tutoring or coaching for a recreational athletic club or association 

Employees between the ages of 15 to 17 may take on any type of work and don’t need permits. But parent or guardian consent is needed for working during hours restricted by the ESC for this age category. The minimum standards and rights provided to employees under the Alberta Employment Standards Code also apply to staff under 18. 

Do you need help staying compliant with the Alberta Employment Standards Code?

Non-compliance with the Employment Standards Code can expose you to litigation, fines, compliance orders and prosecution. It is important that you understand and comply with ESC provisions to keep your employees and business safe. 

Our experts are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the Alberta Employment Standards Code. Call us today at 1-888-219-8767