Can My Boss Do That? Questions About Pay

Can My Boss Do That? Questions About Pay


Can my boss refuse to give me a raise?

The Employment Standards Code does not address the issue of raises. In other words, the law does not provide any kind of automatic entitlement.

If your employer’s policies address the issue of raises and you have been treated in a manner that is inconsistent with those policies, you will have to deal directly with your employer about this issue.


Can my boss refuse to pay me for attending training?

It depends.

Your boss must pay you for any training that provides a service, for example, shadowing another cashier for your first few days at a grocery store.

If the training was just learning, for example watching a video in a classroom, then your employer does not have to pay you for that time.


Can my boss take money off my pay cheque?

Yes. But only for certain things.

The only deductions your employer can make are:

  • deductions that you have authorized in writing (for example, union dues or charitable donations);
  • deductions authorized by a binding collective agreement;
  • deductions required by law (for example, taxes, pension)
  • deductions required by court order (for example, maintenance payments).
  • deductions for food and lodging if your agree to it (the minimum wage can be reduced by $3.35 for every meal consumed and by $4.22 for lodging per day)

Some of the deduction your boss cannot make from your pay cheque include:

  • deductions for faulty workmanship, loss of property, or for cash shortages if anyone else had access to the till or property;
  • Workers’ Compensation Board premiums; and
  • deductions for the cost of your uniform.


Can my boss make me pay for uniforms or uniform cleaning?

No. Your employer cannot ask you to pay for a company uniform.

Your employer cannot deduct from your wage or make you pay for a company uniform, its repair or cleaning. They can, however, ask you to wear all black, for example.


Can my boss refuse to give me benefits?

Yes. You are not entitled to employee benefits.

Many employers offer benefits as an “extra” for their employees.  You may have to work a certain amount of time, for example three months, before you qualify for your employers benefit program.


Can my boss pay me less than minimum wage if I agree to it?

No, employers are not allowed to pay employees less than the minimum wage, even if you agree to it.

However, there are some employees in certain occupations to whom the minimum wage rules do not apply. For example employees not covered in the Employment Standards Code, real estate brokers within the Real Estate Act, students in certain work experience programs, and articling students within the Legal Profession Act.

Last updated: April 2015


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All 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. The research report is available here

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