Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #35
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Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 11am

In the 21st Century! Isn’t there some other way of getting the answers I need online? Signed Frustrated and Future-less

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Dear Working Wise:

I’m 20 years old and I haven’t figured out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I can’t think of any careers that excite me and I’m worried about not being any further ahead after spending four years in university. I’ve seen you recommend people visit an Alberta Works office for career counselling, but this is the 21st Century! Isn’t there some other way of getting the answers I need online? Signed Frustrated and Future-less 

 

Dear Frustrated:

 

I empathise with you—most of us don’t know what our forever career will be when we are twenty—and research shows that few of us have a career that we stick with until retirement.

 

The work world is a bit mysterious to those looking in from the outside—most jobs are not represented at career days—and it is not always clear how you can break into a specific field.

 

Many people train for one career and end up falling into a number of different jobs as time goes on. Even if you find work in a career that you trained for, jobs tend to change—your interests and goals change too.

 

What I can tell you for certain is that the majority of future jobs in Alberta will require some sort of post secondary training or education.

 

I can also assure you that any education or experience you gain today will serve you well in the future.

 

An architect can draw on his past experience as a waiter when he designs a new restaurant. And a project manager can draw on her English degree when she’s writing proposals.

 

You might want to try the new free CAREERinsite website to help you discover exciting careers you never knew existed.

 

CAREERinsite uses questionnaires and journaling tools to help you determine a career focus and life goals. It’s pretty comprehensive and once you create an account it saves your progress, career searches and goals. You can come back and access it up to 10 years later to help track your progress. Check it out at: http://careerinsite.alberta.ca.

 

Once you have a short-list of potential careers, you can use the nearly 200 Occupational Videos on the Alberta Learning Information Service web site http://alis.alberta.ca to see which career excites you most.

 

The videos are a great research tool, because they focus on someone who actually works in the occupation. The video shows them in their workplace, and lets them explain in their own words what they like and find challenging about their job.

 

You can also use the Occupational Info (OccInfo) database to research more than 500 careers. OccInfo includes important details about careers including: duties, working conditions, salaries, advancement opportunities and educational qualifications. OccInfo also includes a new section on emerging careers. Check it out at:http://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo.

 

Finally, you can narrow down your short-list even further and ensure you make a smart investment in your education by checking the anticipated future demand for your career ideas. You don’t want to train for a career or learn a skill that is in decline. You can find a report that forecasts the supply vs. demand for 140 careers, 10 years into the future, at: http://employment.alberta.ca/lmi.

 

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 regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information.


I hear that minimum wage is going up, but that there will be two minimum wages. I am a server in lounge. Which minimum wage will I get? Signed, Wondering Waitress

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Dear Working Wise:

I hear that minimum wage is going up, but that there will be two minimum wages. I am a server in lounge. Which minimum wage will I get? Signed, Wondering Waitress

 

Dear Wondering:

 

Alberta’s minimum wage is rising from $8.80 to $9.40 per hour beginning September 1. A new minimum wage of $9.05 per hour for liquor servers will also come into effect in the fall.

 

I can not tell you what your hourly wage will be come September 1—that will be up to your employer—but it sounds like you could be paid as little as $9.05 per hour, because you serve liquor as a regular part of your job.

 

The new minimum wage rate for alcohol servers recognizes that these employees earn tips. It also provides employers with more flexibility on how they pay the rest of their staff, including cooks and dishwashers.

 

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. Nearly 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.

 

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.

 

Future minimum wage increases will take effect on September 1 of each year and will be based on increases in average weekly earnings and the Consumer Price Index in Alberta.

 

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

 

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.

 

The exemptions I have listed here are fairly general. Alberta’s Employment Standards also includes a minimum weekly wage of $376 for some salespersons and professionals and a minimum monthly minimum wage of $1,791 for domestic employees.

 

For a more information on Alberta’s minimum wage rates and exemptions, visit www.employment.alberta.ca/es.

 

As I mentioned earlier, many minimum-wage earners are youth who work in the hospitality industry.

 

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

 

To find the Alberta Works office nearest you, click http://employment.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 regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This article is provided for general information only.

 

 

 

 

I have a problem employee. Is this enough to fire her for “just cause” and not pay severance?

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Dear Working Wise:

I have a problem employee. She is rude to my customers, she doesn’t follow the checklist of tasks that must be done every day, she plays the VLT machines instead of serving customers and she calls in sick a lot, but only on the weekends. Is this enough to fire her for “just cause” and not pay severance? Signed, Bothered Bar-owner

 

Dear Bothered:

 

Employees have the right to quit and employers have the right to terminate employees under Alberta’s Employment Standards Code. But, these rights come with responsibilities. The most important one is providing adequate notice.

 

The length of notice depends on how long the employee has worked for you. In Alberta, the minimum notice required is: one-week’s notice for between three months and two years of service. Employees with two to four years of service are entitled to a minimum of two- weeks notice.

 

The notice period continues to increase with length of service. For a complete list of notice periods, visit www.employment.alberta.ca/es and click on the Termination of Employment and Temporary Layoff fact sheet.

 

You can choose to give termination pay in lieu of the notice period. A combination of written notice and pay is also acceptable. Employers must pay all wages, overtime, general holiday pay and vacation pay owed to the employee within three days following termination of employment.

 

There are a number of circumstances when an employer does not have to give notice or termination pay. These circumstances, as you mentioned in your question, are for “just cause”.

 

Examples just cause include:

- willful misconduct, like theft or deliberately causing damage to the business;  
- disobedience, like failure to comply with company policy; and

- deliberate neglect of duty, like not showing up or leaving without permission.

 

Employers need adequate documentation to back up their decision to terminate an employee for just cause.

 

Documentation provides a record of unacceptable employee behaviour, proof the employee was made aware of their performance problems, and evidence of the employer’s efforts to correct the behaviour.

 

Documentation can include things like: details of meetings with the employee, copies of emails, letters of reprimand, or time sheets showing missed hours.

 

When an employee is terminated for just cause, the employer still must pay all wages, overtime, general holiday pay and vacation pay owed to the employee within 10 days of termination.

 

Unfortunately, I can not give you a definitive answer to your question. Employers who terminate employees for cause risk paying expensive wrongful dismissal cases if they lack adequate proof.

 

A lot depends on how serious the misconduct has been, how many times it has happened and how well you have documented it.

 

To explore how strong your case is for just cause, you should seek legal advice. The Law Society of Alberta offers a free lawyer referral service by calling 1-800-661-1095.

 

For more information on employment standards related to Termination of Employment, visit www.employment.alberta.ca/es or call the toll-free Alberta Employment Standards phone line at1-877-427-3731.

 

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

 


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