New family-friendly workplace rules in place

Spotlight Staff

People will now have to be employed with an employer for just three months to be eligible for vacations and other leaves, instead of one year.

That’s just one change in the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act that became effective Jan. 1, says a news release Jan. 2.

The Employment Standards Regulation was also updated to better protect workers.

“Albertans deserve fair and family-friendly workplaces that support a strong economy and ensure they can take care of their loved ones,” Labour Minister Christina Gray says.

“I’m proud that our government brought forward these modern, fair and balanced laws that protect the rights of hard-working Albertans, support their families and help businesses stay competitive.”

After nearly 30 years of inaction by the previous (Progressive Conservative) government, Alberta’s laws were out of date and out of step with the rest of Canada, she says.

Key changes include:

-Job-protected sick leave, long-term illness and injury leave, care for critical adult or child leave, bereavement leave, domestic violence leave, death or disappearance of a child leave and citizenship leave.

-Expanded compassionate care, maternity and parental leave to align with federal Employment Insurance benefits.

-Eligibility for leaves after 90 days rather than one year.

-Overtime banking at 1.5 times the number of hours worked.

-Simplified general holiday pay and increased eligibility.

-Clarified standards for vacations and vacation pay.

-New standards for termination, termination, pay, group layoffs and temporary layoffs.

-New penalty system for employers found to be contravening the code or regulation.

-New rules for youth employment are in development and expected to be in place May 1, 2018.

Some changes also apply to waged, non-family workers in Alberta’s agricultural sector.

Proposed changes have no effect on youth activities such as 4-H, casual work or branding parties, and ensure friends and neighbours can continue to help each other as they have done for generations.

Employers and employees with questions may also contact the Employment Standard Contact Centre toll-free at (1-877) 427-3731 or online at


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