Alberta | Labour | Minimum Wage

Alberta announces $13 youth wage and changes to holiday pay, overtime and labour rules

As anticipated, Alberta’s UCP government has announced a new $13.00 minimum wage for youth that will go into effect on June 26, 2019.  Concurrently, the government introduced Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business that features changes to general holiday pay, overtime and labour relations.

$13 Youth Minimum Wage

Minister Jason Copping, Alberta’s new Minister of Labour and Immigration, outlined the rules around the new youth wage with today’s release of the Employment Standards (Minimum Wage) Amendment Regulation.

New rules:

  • The minimum wage for students under 18 will be $13/hour as of June 26, 2019.  This new rate applies for students working 28 hours/week or less when school is in session.
  • Students must be paid the general minimum wage of $15/hour for time exceeding 28 hours in one week.
  • This rule only applies when a student is attending school. During school breaks — summer vacation, Christmas/winter holiday, and spring break—students are to be paid $13/hour for ALL hours worked.
  • Employers will be able to lower the wages of students currently making at least $15/hour—even if they were hired prior to the regulation taking effect—unless the student is in a collective agreement with a fixed wage. In these cases, the wage in the collective agreement still applies.
  • If employers choose to lower the wage of a student employee, they must notify the employee in advance of the first pay period when the lower wage would take effect.
  • The youth minimum wage only applies to students enrolled in an educational institution and does not apply to youth who are out of school.

Members can review further information HERE

Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business

Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business will result in a return to previous general holiday pay and banked overtime rules, allow for Flexible Averaging Agreements, and go into effect on September 1, 2019.   Changes affecting unions would take effect when Bill 2 receives royal assent or when regulations are complete in coming months.

General holiday pay and banked overtime changes

When passed, Bill #2 would result in a:

  • Return to a holiday pay qualifying period of 30 work days in the last 12 months before a general holiday
  • Return to regular/irregular workday distinctions:
    • If a holiday falls on a day that is normally a workday for the employee and they worked on the holiday, they are still entitled to the same amount of general holiday pay as before. There are two options for paying employees holiday pay:
      • The employee gets 1.5 times their regular wage for hours worked and average daily wage.
      • The employee gets their regular wage rate for hours worked and average daily wage with one day off work.
    • If a holiday falls on a day that is normally a workday for the employee and the employee did not work on the holiday, they are entitled to their average daily wage.
    • If a holiday falls on a day that is not normally a workday for the employee and they work on the holiday, they are still entitled to 1.5 times their regular wage rate for hours worked.
    • If the holiday falls on a day that is not normally a workday for the employee and the employee did not work on the holiday, they are not entitled to general holiday pay.
  • Give employers and employees the option to develop straight-time banked hours arrangements and repeal Flexible Averaging Agreements (proposed changes to overtime banking mean these agreements would no longer be needed)

Labour relations changes

Upon royal assent, Bill #2 would:

  • Restore the mandatory secret ballot for all union certification votes;
  • Return to a 90-day period for unions to provide evidence of employee support for certification;
  • Establish a program by October 2019 to support and assist employees to better understand and exercise their rights under labour legislation;
  • Strengthen rules that coordinate employment-related complaints when these complaints involve multiple forums.

Members may wish to review the proposed Act HERE.

Next Steps:

  • The youth minimum wage will go into effect on June 26, 2019.
  • Bill #2 is expected to receive royal assent in the next few weeks, with general holiday pay and banked overtime changes taking effect on September 1, 2019.
  • Labour relations changes would come into effect upon receiving Royal Assent.
  • RCC will continue to monitor the legislative developments of Bill #2 and ensure that members are well informed about developments that may impact their businesses.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairie Region) at 204-926-8624 or jgraham@retailcouncil.org

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