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Working Wise: Employment Standards Change

Dear Working Wise,

I heard that major changes are being made to Employment Standards.  How is this going to affect me as a business owner? 
Signed, Curious

July 19, 2017

Dear Curious,

Alberta’s workplaces have evolved since the Employment Standards Code was last updated in 1988.

The Government of Alberta consulted with employers and labour organizations and collected nearly 5,000 survey responses from Albertans on our Employment Standards legislation.

Government used that input to update the Employment Standards Code to support family-friendly workplaces, modernize the decades-old legislation and align the minimum employment standards with the rest of Canada.

The changes and additions to the Employment Standards Code will come into effect on January 1, 2018.

There are too many changes to list here. You can see a summary list of changes on the  Alberta Employment Standards Code Changes website. They will affect:

• Leave eligibility
• Compassionate care leave
• Maternity/parental leave
• Rest periods
• Compressed work weeks
• Deductions
• Minimum wage
• Overtime
• General holiday and general holiday pay
• Vacations and vacation pay
• Termination and temporary layoffs
• Youth employment

New unpaid leaves will be available, including:

• Long-Term Illness and Injury Leave
• Personal and Family Responsibility Leave
• Bereavement Leave
• Domestic Violence Leave
• Citizenship Ceremony Leave
• Critical Illness of a Child
• Death or disappearance of a Child

Enforcement and administration of Employment Standards will also be enhanced.

To learn more about the Employment Standards changes, visit the Alberta Employment Standards Code Changes website.

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto/fatihhoca

Working Wise is a syndicated newspaper column prepared by the Government of Alberta to answer work-related questions from Albertans. Do you have a work-related question? You can send it to Charles Strachey (, a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services.

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