Standards govern holiday, overtime pay

Dear Working Wise: My son started working full time at a local greenhouse on May 1.

Dear Working Wise:

My son started working full time at a local greenhouse on May 1.

He was not paid holiday pay for Victoria Day. He was also not paid overtime for working Victoria Day.

Is he entitled to holiday pay and overtime?

He also worked more than 100 hours over the past two weeks. Is he entitled to overtime for those hours?

Curious Mom

Dear Curious Mom:

I am glad to hear your son found a summer job. I’ll address your holiday pay question first.

Under Alberta’s Employment Standards, your son’s employer is most likely not required to pay him for Victoria Day (May 18), because employees must have worked a minimum of 30 days prior to the holiday within the last 12 months.

Of course, it’s important to remember that these are the minimum standards. Your son may be entitled to holiday pay if he has an employment contract or belongs to a union with an agreement that doesn’t require the 30-day minimum.

Otherwise, to be eligible for general holiday pay under Alberta’s Employment Standards, employees must:

• have worked 30 days for their employer in the preceding 12 months;

• work their scheduled shift before and after the holiday (unless employer consent is given);

• work on the general holiday if requested; and

• normally work that day of the week (i.e., if you don’t normally work on Mondays, you are not entitled to be paid holiday pay for a holiday that falls on a Monday).

You were also wondering if he is entitled to overtime for working on the holiday.

Again, because he’s short of the minimum 30 days of work, he is considered to be ineligible for the general holiday. The good news is that he will be eligible for the remainder of the summer general holidays.

Finally, you were wondering if he is eligible for overtime for working more than 100 hours during a two-week period.

The short answer is yes.

For most employees, overtime is all hours worked in excess of eight hours a day or 44 hours a week. Overtime is calculated both on a daily and weekly basis. The higher of the two numbers is overtime hours worked in the week.

Some types of employees are exempt from the hours of work and overtime standards — for example, farm workers, sales people and managers. For a complete list of exempt occupations and occupations with differing overtime rules, click on Alberta’s standards at www.employment.alberta.ca/employmentstandards.

The good news is that greenhouses are not considered to be a farm operation and he should most likely be entitled to overtime. Overtime must be paid at the rate of at least 1.5 times his regular wage rate unless he has signed an overtime agreement with his employer.

For more information on overtime agreements, visit the Employment Standards website.

If you have any more detailed questions about his holiday pay or overtime, call 1-877-427-3731 or visit www.employment.alberta.ca/employmentstandards.

Working Wise is compiled weekly by Charles Strachey, a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. Work-related questions can be sent to him at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Working Wise is provided for general information only. Help with specific situations is available through Alberta Employment Standards by calling 1-877-427-3731.

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