11 Alberta Workplace Rights Most People Think They Have but Don’t

11 Alberta Workplace Rights Most People Think They Have but Don’t

 

1. Your employer cannot make you pay for a uniform.

Your employer is not allowed to charge you for the cost of your work uniform, including costs to clean or repair it.

 

2. Your employer doesn’t have to give you benefits, even if you work full-time.

There is no law that makes your employer give you benefits, no matter how much you work. Benefits are an extra perk that your employer can offer but does not have to. Ask your employer what the company policy is.

 

3. Some jobs are exempt from rules about hours of work and breaks.

Some jobs do not have to follow the rules about hours of work, rest periods and days of rest. Examples of jobs that are exempt include:

  • certain types of sales people;
  • managers and supervisors;
  • instructors or counselors at non-profit education or recreational camps; and
  • professionals, including lawyers, accountants, architects, chiropractors, dentists and veterinarians.

For more information, see CPLEA’s FAQs on hours of work.

 

4. If you are under 18, there are limits on where, when and how much you can work.

As of January 1, 2018, different rules apply to 12-year-olds, 13 to 14-year-olds, and 15 to 17-year olds.

12-year-olds can only work in artistic endeavours and need a permit. For 13 to 14-year-olds and 15 to 17-year-olds, different restrictions apply about:

  • parental permission;
  • hours of work (on school days and between 9pm and 6am);
  • certain work places (places that sell food, beverages or alcohol; gas stations; and hotels or motels).

For more information, see CPLEA’s FAQs on youth and work.

 

5. Sick leave is not covered specifically in employment laws.

Employment laws only cover long-term illness and injury leave for a maximum of 16 weeks.

Your employer probably has rules about sick days. Talk to your employer to find out about the company’s policy. Sick leave might also be included in your benefits or in your collective agreement (if you belong to a union).

Employment laws set out other types of unpaid job protected leaves that might apply, depending on your situation.

 

6. If you work less than 90 days and leave on maternity leave, your job may not be protected.

Under the Employment Standards Code, new parents are entitled to a leave without pay. Once they are back from leave, they must be given back their old job or an equivalent job.

But.. the Employment Standards Code only requires employers to guarantee jobs for employees who have worked for at least 90 days before going on maternity or parental leave.

 

7. Sometimes you can be discriminated against, but only in limited situations.

The Alberta Human Rights Act protects Albertans from discrimination … most of the time. However, a job might require a worker to have certain skills or abilities, which are called genuine occupational requirements. An employer can refuse to hire someone who does not meet these genuine occupational requirements.

For example, a moving company might require workers to be able to lift heavy boxes. Because this is a genuine occupational requirement, a person with a physical disability cannot bring a discrimination complaint if they do not get the job.

 

8. Overtime doesn’t apply to some jobs.

Some types of jobs are not entitled to overtime pay. Examples of these jobs include:

  • certain types of sales people;
  • managers and supervisors;
  • instructors or counselors at non-profit education or recreational camps; and
  • professionals, including lawyers, accountants, architects, chiropractors, dentists and veterinarians.

For more information, see CPLEA’s FAQs on overtime.

 

9. Tips are not protected from deductions.

Your boss is never allowed to deduct from your wages for broken items, faulty workmanship or shortages in the cash register (if anyone else had access to it). But these rules do not apply to your tips.

For example, if you dropped a glass at work, your boss cannot take money from your wages to buy a new one. Your boss could, however, take money from your tips that evening to cover the cost of the glass.

 

10. Asking about previous criminal convictions is not protected.

When applying for a job, your potential employer can ask you if you have had any previous criminal convictions. Some employers may require that you provide them with a clear criminal record check or other police check as a condition of your employment.

 

11. If your shift is less than 5 hours long, you are not entitled to take a break.

Employers are not required to give you a break if your shift is less than 5 hours long. They might give you a break anyway but they don’t have to. Employers have to give you a 30-minute rest (or 2 15-minute breaks) for every 5 hours of work. Talk to your employer about expectations.

Last updated: September 2019

 

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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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