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.

 

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, certified and chartered accountants, architects, chiropractors, dentists and veterinarians.

 

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

As of Jan 1, 2018, different rules apply to 12 year olds, 13-15 year olds, and 16-17 year olds.

12 year olds can only work in artistic endeavours and require a permit. For 13-15 year olds and 16-17 year olds, different restrictions apply relating to:

  • parental permission;
  • hours of work which are limited on school days;
  • working from 9 am – 6 am; and
  • working  in places that sell food / beverages / alcohol, gas stations, and hotels/motels.

5. Sick leave is not covered specifically in employment laws

 

Your employer will probably have rules about sick leave but employment law now covers long-term illness and injury leave for a maximum of 16 weeks. Sick leave might also be included in your benefits or as part of a union agreement (if you belong to one). Talk to your employer to find out about the company policy on sick days. There are also other types of unpaid leave that were recently included in the legislation. See Job Protected Leaves for more information

 

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 period of leave without pay. Once they are back from leave they must be given back their old or equivalent job.

But.. the Employment Standards Code only requires employers to guarantee jobs for employees who have worked for 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 (link). However, when a job requires certain skills or abilities to perform the job,  it may be considered a bona fide (genuine) occupational requirement. For example, for a moving company the ability to lift heavy boxes might be a bona fide occupational requirement.

 

8. Overtime doesn’t apply to some jobs

Some specific types of jobs are not entitled to overtime pay because these jobs do not have to follow the rules about hours of work, rest periods, and days of rest. Examples of these jobs include:

  • certain types of sales people;
  • domestic employees
  • managers and supervisors;
  • instructors or counselors at non-profit education or recreational camps; and
  • professionals (see above for list)

 

9. Tips are not protected from deductions

Your boss is never allowed to make deductions 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 might even require a criminal record check.

 

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. Talk to your employer about expectations.

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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