The ins and outs of overtime

Dear Working Wise: I work as many as 10.5 hours a day as a delivery driver/shop helper.

Dear Working Wise: I work as many as 10.5 hours a day as a delivery driver/shop helper. I make deliveries and work in the shop when there are no deliveries to be made.

According to the Alberta Employment Standards website, truck drivers do not incur overtime until they exceed 10 hours of work, but my understanding is that the 10 hour rule only applies to out-of-town deliveries.

I am curious how my overtime should be calculated. For example, if I make deliveries for three hours and then work 7.5 hours in the shop, am I entitled to overtime? — Wondering Worker

Dear Wondering: 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.

Overtime must be paid at the rate of at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular wage rate. The sole exception applies where the overtime is accumulated under an overtime agreement.

Some employers and employees agree to replace overtime pay wholly or partly with time off with pay.

This is done through the use of an overtime agreement. An overtime agreement allows overtime hours to be banked and later taken off with pay, hour for hour, during regular work hours.

However, if banked time is not taken off within three months then it must be paid out at time and one half. Employers cannot create a “use it or loose it” type rule for banked overtime. Overtime can not be lost or taken away even if your overtime agreement says that it can.

The employer must keep track of the banked overtime and how long it has been in the bank. However, the employer can tell the employee when to take their banked time off.

Some types of employees are exempt from the hours of work and overtime standards. Farm workers, domestic employees, salespeople, professionals, police and managers are just a few of the classes that are exempt.

As you have alluded to, other industries, such as the trucking industry, have different overtime rules.

For a complete list of exempt occupations and industries with differing overtime rules, click on Alberta’s standards at www.employment.alberta.ca/employmentstandards.

Your situation includes a lot of variables. Whether you drive long distances (across provincial boundaries), the type of company you work for, how much of your time you spend driving and the type of truck you drive all have an impact on whether you are covered by federal laws or provincial laws, and whether you are considered to be working in the “trucking” industry, which has different overtime rules than most.

I encourage you to call the Alberta Employment Standards contact centre toll-free at 1-877-427-3731.

The advisers will be able to dig down into the details of your situation and let you know if you are considered to be working in the trucking industry or not.

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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