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Changes to Alberta Employment Legislation: Understanding Bill 2

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HR Governance

The Alberta provincial government recently passed Bill 2, which has several implications for employers and employees in Alberta. It is important for employers to understand the implications and ensure their employee management practices are in compliance. 



Bill 2: An Overview

Bill 2 (Open for Business Act), which makes amendments to the Alberta Employment Standards Code, was passed by the Alberta Provincial Legislature on July 2nd and received royal assent on July 18th, 2019. Most of the changes pertaining to holiday pay eligibility and overtime banking will take effect September 1st, 2019. Changes pertaining to Labour Relations are effective immediately.

Key Points

To be eligible for General Holiday Pay, an employee must meet the following criteria:

  • Worked at least 30 days prior to the General Holiday
  • The General Holiday must fall on what would have been a regularly scheduled work day
  • The Employee must have worked the shift before and after the General Holiday

Essentially, we are reverting to the rules that existed before January 1st, 2018 for General Holiday Pay eligibility. There are additional nuances if an employee works on a General Holiday, so be sure to ask our HR Services Consultants to check your payroll entries before processing is completed.

There are also changes to overtime banking rules. For the last year and a half, employers have been obligated to pay overtime hours at a rate of 1.5x regardless if they pay them within the pay period they were earned or as part of an overtime banking program for their employees. Thankfully, we are also reverting back to pre-2018 rules in this case to allow employers to pay out the banked overtime hours as straight time, wherein one hour overtime equates to one hour of pay at regular rate vs the overtime rate.

The other notable change to the employment landscape is the introduction of a Youth Minimum Wage in Alberta, effective June 26th, 2019. Rather than the rate of $15.00 per hour for the general working population, employees under 18 years old can be paid at a lower rate of $13.00 per hour.

There are also additional labour relations code changes, including:

  • A mandatory secret ballot will be required for all union certification votes
  • A 90-day period for unions to provide evidence of employee support for certification

Understanding the Implications

How these changes affect your business and bottom line will depend on existing overtime agreements or collective agreements that may be in place. Need more information? Honiva Consulting is happy to help. We can be reached for a free confidential consultation at +1-403-470-5350 or [email protected]

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Further Reading

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