Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Alert

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit alberta.ca for up-to-date information about these impacts.

A worker's weekly time sheet showing when they clocked in and out each day, and how many total hours they worked.
A A

Work Laws About Hourly Pay

If you are paid by the hour, it is called a wage. Your wages are a part of your earnings.

This is an Easy Reading article

Use the Easy Reading Dictionary to learn the words in this article.

You may have many questions about your wages. Here are some answers.

What is not part of your wages?

Some of the money you may earn is not called wages. For example, tips and expenses are not wages.

Tips are extra money a customer gives you for doing a good job. You may be able to keep all of your tips. Or you may have to share your tips with your co-workers.

Expenses are costs you pay as part of doing your job. For example, you may need to drive your car while you work. The cost of the gas is an expense. Some employers pay for your work expenses.

Examples

Van works in a bar. He serves food and liquor. He makes the minimum wage. His wage is $15.00 per hour.

Customers leave tips for him too. He gets his wage plus tips. Van shares his tips with his co-workers.

Cora works in a daycare centre. Cora’s employer may ask Cora to buy snacks for the children. Cora uses her own money for the snacks. She keeps her receipts from the store.

This is an expense. Cora’s employer pays her back for these snacks. This expense is not part of Cora’s wages.

What happens when you work extra hours?

Your employer may ask you to work extra hours. If you work more than 8 hours a day or more than 44 hours in that same week, then the extra hours are called overtime.

There are laws about overtime. Some workers get overtime pay.

Overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times your regular wage. Some employers pay more. But you and your employer can agree to time off with pay.

Examples

Mike works at a gas station 5 days a week. Most of the time he works a 6-hour shift.

Last Monday, Mike’s employer asked him to work 8 hours. That Friday, Mike also had to work 9 hours. Mike got some overtime pay on his pay cheque.

Mike worked a total of 35 hours last week. He cannot claim any overtime pay for the number of hours he worked that week.

But Mike worked for 9 hours on Friday. That means he will get overtime pay for working 1 extra hour in a day.

Keiko works in a clothing store from Monday to Friday. She earns $17 per hour. The store pays overtime hours at 1.5 times Keiko’s regular pay.

Keiko had one shift last week (Monday) where she worked more than 8 hours. She worked 10 hours on Monday.

Keiki also picked up an extra 6-hour shift on Saturday. Her total number of hours for the week was 48. That’s 4 more hours than the maximum 44 hours per week she can work without overtime pay. 

Keiko’s employer has to pay overtime for the total of Keiko’s hours of work over 8 on each day of the week, or the hours of work over 44 in the week, whichever is more.

Last week, Keiko worked 4 hours over the weekly maximum of 44. She only worked 2 hours over the 8 hour daily maximum. This means Keiko will be paid for 4 hours of overtime at 1.5 times her regular pay.

$17 per hour regular pay X 1.5 = $25.50 per hour overtime pay for Keiko.

Because she worked 4 hours of overtime, Keiko will make extra money: 4 x $25.50 = $102.00

What is time off with pay?

Some workers can choose to take time off with pay instead of getting overtime pay. For each hour of overtime, you can take at least an hour off work and still get your regular wage. Some employers may give more than an hour off work for each hour of overtime.

You can bank (save) your extra hours for up to 6 months. You must use your extra hours before 6 months pass. You can use these hours to leave work early or to take a longer break or holiday.

You and your employer must agree that you can take time off with pay. You must sign a paper that says you both agree. This is called an overtime agreement. If you do not sign the paper, you must get overtime pay.

Example

Gina works in a warehouse. She agreed not to take overtime pay. She signed a paper with her employer. Gina takes time off with pay.

Last week, Gina worked 44 regular hours and 4 hours of overtime. She gets 4 hours off with pay. She will save the 4 extra hours.

Next month, Gina will take the 4 hours off and volunteer at her son’s school. She will get those 4 hours off with pay. The pay will be her regular rate of pay.

What is a 3-hour minimum?

Sometimes, work may not be busy. Your supervisor can ask you to leave early. You can be asked to go home even if you just started your shift.

The law says there is a 3-hour minimum. For example, you could be sent home after only 2 hours. But you must either be paid for 3 hours at minimum wage or be paid for 2 hours at your regular wage. It depends on what is higher. You must be paid the higher amount.

Some employees have a 2-hour minimum. Like school bus drivers. Or kids who are 13, 14, or 15 years old working on a school day.

Example

Adam works in a hotel. He earns $17 per hour.

Last night, Adam went to work. After 2 hours, his supervisor told him to go home. The hotel was not busy.

Adam worked 2 hours. His regular pay would be 2 x $17 = $34.

3 hours of minimum wage would be 3 x $15 = $45.

Adam must be paid the higher amount: $45.

It is important to know the rules about hourly pay. Make sure your employer is paying you the right amount for overtime and 3-hour minimums. Learn more about overtime hours and overtime pay.

Was this page useful?
Top