Can My Boss Do That? Questions about Working Hours

Can My Boss Do That? Questions about Working Hours



Can my boss refuse to give me breaks?

No, you are entitled to 30 minutes of rest for every 5 hours of work.

The break can be taken all at once, or broken in to two 15 minute breaks.


Can my boss require me to work weekends?

Yes. Although the Employment Standards Code states that an employer must allow employees days of rest, in Alberta there is no mention which days they have to be. If weekend work is a job requirement, consider this when deciding whether to take the job.


Can my boss refuse to give me a vacation?

No. Your boss must either give you vacation time or vacation pay.

However, your boss can refuse to give you a vacation at a certain time. If you and your boss cannot agree on when you can take vacation, your boss must give you two weeks written notice of when to take the vacation and you will have to take it at that time.

If you have worked less than 12 months, your boss does not have to agree to give you vacation before your first 12 months of work are done.


Can my boss make me work a split or double shift?

If your job is covered by the Alberta Employment Standards Code, you can work for up to twelve hours in one day. Anything above this can only occur on an emergency basis, for example, if plant or machinery needs urgent work, or with authorization from the Director of Employment Standards.

There are certain rules that must be followed.

  • All the work hours must fall within a 12-hour period (7am to 7pm for example).
  • You must get at least 8 hours of rest between shifts (A double or split shift is considered one shift)
  • If you work overtime while working a split shift, your boss must pay you for the overtime.


Can my boss send me home if there isn’t enough work?

Your employer can send you home early if there isn’t enough work, but they must pay you at least minimum wage for three hours of work, no matter how long you actually worked.

Young people who are 13 and 14 years old working on school nights must be paid for at least 2 hours, even if you work less (3 hours on a non-school day).


Can my boss make me work overtime without paying me extra?

For most employees covered by the Employment Standards Code, the overtime can be calculated by:

  • Count the total hours you worked more than eight hours per day (if you worked ten hours per day for five days, overtime would be ten hours) or
  • Count the total hours you worked more than forty-four hours per week during the workweek (if you worked forty-eight hours, overtime would be four hours).
  • The bigger number is your number of overtime hours

Overtime must be paid out at least 1.5 times the employees wage rate for the overtime hours, unless the employer and employee have entered into an overtime agreement.

Your boss is allowed to give you time off in lieu of overtime hours if you agree.

  • You must agree to time off in lieu in writing. The contract must be in writing and you must get a copy of it;
  • You have to use the banked overtime hours within six months after you earn them;
  • The hours of time off must be at least equal to 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked.
  • The time off must be taken at a time you normally would be working.
  • If you do not end up taking the time off, you must be paid for the overtime hours.

*If your job is not covered by the Employment Standards Code, then the rules about overtime do not apply to you.


Last updated: April 2015

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hremf-b-w72dpiAll of the materials on this page were funded by the Alberta Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund (HREMF). This project was a result of a research project funded by HREMF in 2013. The research report is available here.

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