Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #4
07202018Fri
Last updateFri, 20 Jul 2018 1pm

My son started working in the lumber yard at our local hardware store in May. He was not paid holiday pay for Victoria Day. He was also not paid overtime for working the holiday. Is he entitled to holiday pay and overtime? He also worked more than 100 hou

Dear Working Wise:

My son started working in the lumber yard at our local hardware store in May. He was not paid holiday pay for Victoria Day. He was also not paid overtime for working the holiday. 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?  Signed, Disappointed Dad

 

Dear Disappointed Dad:

 

I am glad to hear that 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, because employees must have worked a minimum of 30 days prior to the holiday within the past year to be eligible.

 

Of course, it is 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:

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

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

o   work on the general holiday if requested; and

o   normally work that day of the week, e.g., 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 is 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, including Canada Day.

 

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.

 

Overtime must be paid at the rate of at least 1.5 times her regular wage rate unless he has signed an overtime agreement with his employer. For more information on overtime agreements, visit the Employment Standards web site.

 

If you have any more detailed questions about her holiday pay or overtime, call the Alberta Employment Standards Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-427-3731 or visit http://humanservices.alberta.ca/es.

 

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 just started a new job and found out that I only get one unpaid half-hour lunch break every day. Shouldn’t I also get two 15-minute paid coffee breaks too? Signed, Gimme a break

Dear Working Wise:

I just started a new job and found out that I only get one unpaid half-hour lunch break every day. Shouldn’t I also get two 15-minute paid coffee breaks too? Signed, Gimme a break

 

Dear Gimme:

 

Alberta’s Employment Standards require employers to give most workers at least 30 minutes of rest during a shift that’s longer than five hours.

 

Breaks can be paid, or unpaid, at the employer's discretion, but the break must be paid if:

·   The employee is asked or required to work through their break;

·   The employer places restrictions on the employee’s activities or refuses to allow them to leave the premises during their break.

 

The 30 minutes can be taken all at once or broken into shorter periods as long as it totals 30 minutes.

 

Employers can ask staff to work through their breaks if it is unreasonable, impossible or impractical to accommodate the break, but they must be then paid for their time.

 

For example, it would not be practical to take a coffee-break in the middle of a legal deposition, surgery, concrete pour, evacuation, sales presentation, or lunch rush.

 

These are the minimum standards and many employers voluntarily exceed these standards, because short, frequent breaks have been shown to increase productivity in the workplace.

 

For example, many employers offer their full-time staff (those working seven or more hours per day) a lunch break plus two paid 15-minute breaks. No matter what an employer decides, they should outline the number and length of break periods as part of their staffing policies and ensure their current and new staff know the break policy.

 

Employees also need breaks between shifts. Employers are not allowed to work their staff longer than a 12-hour period in a workday unless some emergency occurs or the employer has a permit authorizing extended hours of work. This means, for example, that an employee who begins work at 8 a.m. cannot work past 8 p.m.

 

Employees must get at least eight hours rest from when their last shift ended to when the new one begins.

 

With rest days, employers must provide employees with one day of rest each week, or two consecutive days of rest in each period of two consecutive weeks of work, three days for three weeks of work, and so on. After 24 consecutive days of work, employees must be provided with at least four consecutive days of rest.

 

Some occupations are exempt from the minimum standards when it comes to hours of work, rest periods and days of rest, including oil-well services, truck drivers, law enforcement, and some professional and sales positions.

 

For a complete list of exempt occupations or for more information on Alberta’s Employment Standards, visit www.employment.alberta.ca/es and read the fact sheet on Hours of Work, Rest Periods, and Days of Rest.  

 

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 hear that minimum wage is going up, but I am wondering if both minimum wages are increasing? I am a server in a lounge and sure would like a raise. Signed, Wondering Waitress

Dear Working Wise:

I hear that minimum wage is going up, but I am wondering if both minimum wages are increasing? I am a server in a lounge and sure would like a raise. Signed, Wondering Waitress

 

Dear Wondering:

 

Alberta’s minimum wage is rising 2.1 per cent, from $9.75 to $9.95 per hour, beginning September 1. The liquor-server minimum wage of $9.05 per hour will remain unchanged.

 

The differential wage for alcohol servers will remain at $9.05 per hour until the general minimum wage reaches $10.05 per hour. From then on, both wage rates will increase and a $1 differential between the two wages will be maintained.

 

The separate minimum wage rate for alcohol servers recognizes that these employees earn tips.

 

Minimum wage increases take effect on September 1 of each year and are based on increases in average weekly earnings and the Consumer Price Index in Alberta.

 

Setting an annual date and indexing the minimum wage helps make the increases more predictable for both employers and employees.

 

It’s important to remember that these are minimum wage rates—many employers choose to pay their employees more to attract and retain good people.

 

In fact, less than two per cent of Alberta employees make minimum wage right now—the least in the country. And, more than half of minimum-wage earners are under 25 years old and many work in the accommodation and food-services industries.

 

Minimum wage is meant to give students and others new to the workforce a foothold in the world of work. It is about getting job experience, work skills, extra income and savings for further education and training.

 

Minimum wage is the minimum amount employers must pay workers in Alberta, but there are a few exceptions, including:

·         farm or ranch workers;

·         securities salespersons;

·         real estate brokers;

·         insurance salespeople;

·         students in approved work-experience programs or training courses;

·         counsellors/instructors at non-profit camps; and

·         extras in film or video production.

 

Alberta’s Employment Standards also includes a minimum weekly wage for some salespersons and professionals (will rise to $397) and a minimum monthly minimum wage for domestic employees (will rise to $1,893 on September 1).

 

After personal exemptions and taxes are considered, Alberta’s new general minimum wage of $9.95 per hours will be the second highest in Canada.

 

For more information on Alberta’s minimum wage rates and exemptions, visit http://humanservices.alberta.ca/es.

 

Anyone interested in increasing their earning power can visit their nearest Alberta Works Centre and talk to a Career & Employment Consultant about upgrading their skills and finding a better-paying career.

 

To find an Alberta Works Centre near you, click http://humanservices.alberta.ca/offices.

 

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 article is provided for general information only.

 

 


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