Changes to Employment Standards afoot

Dear Working Wise:

I heard that major changes are being made to Employment Standards. How is this going to affect me as a business owner? Signed, Curious

Dear Curious:

Alberta’s workplaces have evolved since the Employment Standards Code was last updated in 1988.

The Government of Alberta consulted with employers and labour organizations and collected nearly 5,000 survey responses from Albertans on our Employment Standards legislation.

Government used that input to update the Employment Standards Code to support family-friendly workplaces, modernize the decades-old legislation and align the minimum employment standards with the rest of Canada.

The changes and additions to the Employment Standards Code will come into effect on January 1, 2018.

There are too many changes to list here. You can see a summary list of changes at They will affect:

Leave eligibility

Compassionate care leave

Maternity/parental leave

Rest periods

Compressed work weeks


Minimum wage


General holiday and general holiday pay

Vacations and vacation pay

Termination and temporary layoffs

Youth employment

New unpaid leaves will be available, including:

Long-Term Illness and Injury Leave

Personal and Family Responsibility Leave

Bereavement Leave

Domestic Violence Leave

Citizenship Ceremony Leave

Critical Illness of a Child

Death or disappearance of a Child

Enforcement and administration of Employment Standards will also be enhanced.

To learn more about the Employment Standards changes, visit

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services. This column is provided for general information.

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