Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #13
05222018Tue
Last updateSat, 19 May 2018 9pm

Is my company allowed to reduce my rate of pay when my job responsibilities haven’t changed and I haven’t had any disciplinary issues? Does it matter if the company or franchise has come under a new owner? Are they still allowed to cut my pay?

Dear Working Wise:

Is my company allowed to reduce my rate of pay when my job responsibilities haven’t changed and I haven’t had any disciplinary issues? Does it matter if the company or franchise has come under a new owner? Are they still allowed to cut my pay?  Signed, Upset at Work

 

Dear Upset:

 

I wish I had better news for you, but yes, your employer can reduce your rate of pay.

 

Your compensation is a matter that you, or in some cases your bargaining unit, negotiate with your employer. The only exception might be if you are working under a contract that guarantees you a certain minimum wage.

 

Alberta’s Employment Standards, however, do require employers to give you adequate notice of the pay change and comply with Alberta’s minimum-wage laws.

 

An employer who wants to reduce an employee's pay must notify the employee before the pay period begins.

 

If you would like to learn more about protections for workers and their earnings, visit

http://humanservices.alberta.ca/working-in-alberta and read the Employment Standards fact sheets on Payment of Earnings and Minimum Wage.

 

If you have any other questions, I encourage you to call the Employment Standards contact centre, toll-free, at 1-877-427-3731.

 

Everyone wants to feel like they are being treated fairly at work. Knowledge is power. If you do not feel that you are being offered a competitive salary at your current job, do a little research.

 

Check out the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, which covers more than 400 occupations, at www.alis.alberta.ca/Wageinfo.

 

Visit www.monster.ca and use their online salary wizard, which allows you to check salary ranges by occupation and geographic location.

 

Check current job postings or try talking to someone in a similar job or field. You can also try checking to see if your professional association conducts salary surveys or tracks the trends.

 

Your research might help you build a compelling case for a raise or help you decide if it is time to look for a job elsewhere.

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services.  This column is provided for general information.

 


Can I deduct cash shortages from employee pay cheques? The staff at my store are cashiers. They count their floats before they start work and at the end of their shifts. Since they are responsible for the money, can I recover the cash “lost” during their

Dear Working Wise:

 

Can I deduct cash shortages from employee pay cheques? The staff at my store are cashiers. They count their floats before they start work and at the end of their shifts. Since they are responsible for the money, can I recover the cash “lost” during their shifts? Signed, Missing Cash

 

Dear Missing Cash:

 

Alberta’s Employment Standards Code allows certain deductions to be made from employee earnings: Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and Alberta Health Care premiums, as well as deductions resulting from a court judgment or order.

 

If you want to make other deductions from your employee’s pay, you must get written permission from the employee. Examples could include company pension plans, dental plans, personal charges to company credit cards, and so on. Usually these deductions are discussed and permissions are provided before the employee starts their job.

 

There are some deductions that are not allowed even with written authorization from the employee.

 

Employers can not take deductions for faulty workmanship. Faulty workmanship can include things like accidental damage to an employer’s equipment, a “walkout” in a bar, a gas station “pump & dash”, broken dishes in a restaurant or mistakes in production. 

 

Alberta Employment Standards also prohibits employers from taking deductions from an employee’s earnings for cash shortages or lost property if any individual other than the employee had access to the cash or property.

 

This could include customers, other employees, accounting staff, supervisors or managers (including you). It may be difficult to find a time when only one person has exclusive access to cash or property.

 

The only way you can deduct cash shortages from an employee’s pay is if:

·         You can show that they were the only person with access to the cash; and

·         The employee gives you written authorization prior to the deduction.

 

Alberta Human Services offers an easy-to-use Employment Standards Tool Kit for Employers that can help you understand your rights and obligations under Employment Standards (ES) legislation. The tool kit is available at

http://employment.alberta.ca/SFW/es-toolkit.html.

 

Cash shortages could indicate some other issues that might require further investigation.

 

Your staff may need more cash-handling training and experience or they might be making mistakes because they are too busy. Talk to your staff about the reasons for cash shortages. You may need to step in a take a more active role in ensuring your staff have the proper skills.

 

You could also be experiencing theft in your workplace. Employee theft accounts for around one-third of all retail theft in Canada.   

 

Most employees are honest, though, and deserve your trust. Less than three per cent of employees were caught stealing in 2011 according to the 24th Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International. The survey included 24 major U.S. retailers employing a total of more than 2.8 million staff.

 

Talk to your employees and establish a zero-tolerance policy to theft. You might want to monitor things more closely. Perform reference checks before you hire. Ask your senior employees keep an eye out for problems. Install surveillance cameras. If the losses are linked to a specific employee, you might want to involve the police.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

I’ve worked for the same company for five years and I haven’t gotten a promotion. I get good job reviews and no one complains about my work, but other people around me have been promoted and I’ve been left behind.

Dear Working Wise:

I’ve worked for the same company for five years and I haven’t gotten a promotion. I get good job reviews and no one complains about my work, but other people around me have been promoted and I’ve been left behind. What can I do? Signed Frustrated 

 

Dear Frustrated:

 

It’s hard to know why you have been overlooked for a promotion, but I’ll bet your boss knows why.

 

Wait until your anger has passed and then ask your supervisor for a meeting to discuss your career path. Explain to your supervisor that you like your job and that you are interested in taking on more responsibility. Then, ask for their advice on what you need to do to earn a promotion.

 

Be prepared for criticism or suggestions that you will not like. Don’t get defensive or critical of your supervisor’s comments—listen with an open mind, because he or she is telling you what you need to hear.

 

You might need more training or you might have stepped into a workplace trap that’s holding your career back.

 

The four most common workplace traps are:

 

1.      Complaining - Every workplace has problems. Complaining will not solve them. Complaining lowers morale, wastes time and gives you a reputation for negativity that can hurt your career. In fact, in a recent survey, the top workplace pet peeve is people who complain too much. Do what you can to change the situation. If that’s not possible, accept it and move on. If the situation is unacceptable and you’ve done everything in your power to change it without success, then look for a different job.

 

2.      Gossiping – Reduces productivity and undermines teamwork by creating mistrust and suspicion between co-workers. If a co-worker starts gossiping:

·         Leave the conversation, e.g., “Sorry, I’ve got to make a call.”

·         Change the subject, e.g., “How was your weekend?”

·         Steer the conversation in a positive direction, e.g., “Gee, we can’t do much about that, but what can we do to make things better?”

 

3.      Inappropriate online activities – many employers provide their staff with email and Internet access. They also keep track of their employee’s Internet use. Be sure you are using your computer and Internet access for work-related purposes. Check with your supervisor before you use these resources for personal use and never send an email or visit a website that you wouldn’t want your supervisor to see.

 

4.      Comparing – Dwelling on how much faster your co-workers were promoted than you is a waste of your time, it destroys your morale, increases your frustration, and keeps you from taking positive actions to improve your situation. Have a conversation with your supervisor about your goals, make a development plan that you both agree will take your career in the right direction, and follow it. Catch your supervisor’s attention by learning new skills or volunteering for a project.     

 

Bringing a positive and professional attitude to work with you every day is the best way to avoid workplace traps and give your career a lift.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.


Will you stay up to watch the Royal Wedding?