Can My Boss Do That? Questions About Pay
Can my boss refuse to give me a raise?
Yes. The Employment Standards Code does not say anything about raises. You are not automatically entitled at law to any kind of raise.
If your employer has a policy on raises and your employer is not following this policy, you will have to deal directly with your employer about this issue.
Can my boss refuse to pay me for attending training?
Your boss must pay you for any training that provides a service. For example, your employer must pay you if you shadow another cashier for your first few days at a grocery store.
If the training was just learning, then your employer does not have to pay you for that time. For example, your employer does not have to pay you if you watch a video in a classroom.
Can my boss take money off my pay cheque?
Yes. But only for certain things.
An employer can legally deduct the following from an employee’s wages:
- statutory deductions (income taxes, Canada Pension Plan deductions, Employment Insurance premiums);
- money owing by law or under a judgment or court order (for example, if someone garnishes your account to pay back a debt you owe);
- amounts allowed under a collective agreement (such as union dues);
- amounts for food and lodging if you agree to it (the minimum wage can be reduced by $3.35 for every meal consumed and by $4.41 for lodging per day);
- any other amount you have agreed to in writing (with some exceptions).
An employer cannot deduct the following (even if it is in a collective agreement or you have agreed to it in writing):
- money for your faulty work;
- cash shortages or property loss if someone other than you had access to the cash or property (for example, if you share a till with other people at work, you alone cannot be held liable if the till is short cash);
- cash shortages from you not collecting all or part of the purchase price from a customer;
- any amount to purchase, use, repair or clean any uniforms or other special clothing that you are required to wear at work;
- Workers’ Compensation Board premiums.
Can my boss make me pay for uniforms or uniform cleaning?
No. 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 employer’s 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 jobs to whom the minimum wage rules do not apply. For example, employees not covered in the Employment Standards Code, real estate brokers, students in certain work experience programs, and articling students.
For more information on who the minimum wage rules do not apply to, see CPLEA’s FAQs on Pay.
Last updated: September 2019
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.