Employment Standards FAQ

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The information below is not intended as legal advice. The Alberta Federation of Labour is a non-governmental umbrella organization of unions.

If you work in a unionized environment, you should approach your union with any questions or concerns first. If further information is required, the Alberta Labour Relations Board can be contacted at  http://www.alrb.gov.ab.ca/, 1-800-463-2572.

If you work in a non-unionized work environment, you can contact Alberta Employment Standards . They can be reached at 780-427-3731 or 1-877-427-3731 between 8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday to have your questions answered, or you can can place your inquiry online here. Do you need to make a complaint? The step-by-step process on how to file a complaint can be found here


What is the minimum wage in Alberta?

Minimum wage for most workers in Alberta is $9.95 an hour. Workers who serve alcohol on a frequent basis in a licensed venue may be paid $9.05 per hour. You cannot be paid less than this, even if you receive tips or some other kind of bonus.”

My boss says that I have to pay for my uniform for work. Is this legal?

Sadly, yes. Employers are allowed to deduct wages or charge you for a uniform at work, but they must get your permission in writing to do so.

Employers are not allowed to deduct wages for the cost of, laundering or repairing uniforms if it means your salary will drop below minimum wage.

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My boss tells me that I have to be at work 15 minutes before my shift, but I don't start getting paid until I actually start. Can he do that?

No. Any time you are required to be at work the employer has to pay you.

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How many breaks am I entitled to in a day?

For every five hours of work, you are entitled to 30 minutes of rest. It can be paid or unpaid, and can be broken up into 10 minute blocks, 15 minute blocks, or taken all together. It's up to the employer.

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I work in a restaurant. My boss makes me pay if a table skips out on the bill. Are they allowed to do this?

No. Employment Standards say that employers cannot deduct for cash shortages or loss of property if an individual other than the employee has access to the cash or property.

This also means that an employer cannot have you contribute to a 'dine and dash' fund to cover for shortages.

If, however, you are the only person with access to a cash register and there is money missing, the employer can deduct it from your pay.

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My boss always sends people home if it's slow and only pays them for the time they were there. Can he do that?

You can be sent home early from work, but an employer cannot pay you for less than 3 hours of work, no matter how long you worked before being sent home.

For example, if you are scheduled to work an 8 hour shift and get sent home after 1 hour because it is a slow day, you are still entitled to receive pay for 3 hours of work.

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I just started at a restaurant and my employer says that the first three days is on the job training, so he's not paying me. Is this legal?

No. Any training that is hands-on, such as serving customers or operating machinery has to be paid at the regular level.

However, if the training is classroom training where no work is done then the employer does not have to pay you.

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When do I get overtime pay?

You are entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 8 hours in a day or 44 hours in a week. Overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for the overtime.

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I've been working at my job for two years and my boss just came in and said that he didn't need me to work anymore. What can I do?

Unfortunately, employers can fire you at any time for almost any reason, or for no good reason at all. The only law is that they must give you notice. How much notice you're entitled to depends on how long you've been there:

0-3 months: no notice
3 months-2 years: 1 week notice
2 years-4 years: 2 weeks notice
4 years-6 years: 4 weeks notice
6 years-8 years: 5 weeks notice
8 years-10 years: 6 weeks notice
More than 10 years: 8 weeks notice

The employer can also 'pay you out' instead of giving you notice by paying the salary you would have earned over the notice period.

Notice is not required if you are fired for 'just cause' such as if you are caught stealing or if you were hired for a term position that has ended.

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I was scheduled to work on Tuesday starting at noon, but on Monday afternoon my boss told me I have to come in at 8:00 am instead. Do I have to change the shift?

No. Employers cannot require you to change from one shift to another unless they have given you 24 hours' notice.

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