Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #5
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Last updateFri, 19 Oct 2018 4pm

My daughter just accepted a two-month unpaid internship with an advertising agency. I think this will be a great experience for her, because she is an aspiring graphic artist, but I’m wondering if unpaid internships are legal?

Dear Working Wise:

 

My daughter just accepted a two-month unpaid internship with an advertising agency. I think this will be a great experience for her, because she is an aspiring graphic artist, but I’m wondering if unpaid internships are legal? Should they be paying her? Signed, Doting Dad

 

Dear Doting Dad:

 

The workplace is one of the best places to pick up valuable skills and experience related to your dream career. However, most unpaid internships do not comply with Alberta’s Employment Standards legislation.

 

Employers need to be very careful about offering unpaid internships. Calling a position an internship does not exempt it from Employment Standards.

 

Even if an intern agrees, in writing, to receive no compensation from an organization, part 1, section 4 of the Employment Standards Code clearly states that these minimum standards can not be avoided through agreements.

 

HootSuite, for example, abandoned their unpaid interns policy in April and are paying back pay to interns who worked for the company after the company discovered that their intern program violated British Columbia provincial employment standards laws. HootSuite is now offering paid internships.

 

Alberta’s Employment Standards are similar to those in British Columbia and Alberta employers could expect a similar outcome here.

 

Alberta’s Employment Standards Code considers an “employee” to be anyone employed to do work who receives or is entitled to wages. Work is defined as providing a service to the employer.

 

Essentially, if your daughter performs work that is a benefit to the agency, she is an employee and is covered by Employment Standards, including minimum wage.

 

There are some exceptions to minimum wage legislation, but they are very limited.

Some of the more common exemptions that students may encounter, include:

·   Students in work-experience programs approved by the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education or the Minister of Alberta Human Services;

·   Off-campus education programs provided under the School Act;

·   Extras in a film or video production;

·   Farm employees; and

·   Counsellors or instructors at an educational or recreational camp operated on a non-profit basis for children or handicapped individuals or for religious purposes.

 

Momentum is growing against unpaid internships. In fact, there is even a Hollywood movie about unpaid internships coming out this summer.

 

The Canadian Intern Association offers a web site at www.internassociation.ca that provides employment standards information for every Canadian province along with advice on how to claim back pay owed to you.

 

If you have more questions about Alberta’s Employment Standards and unpaid internships, visit http://humanservices.alberta.ca/es.

 

You can also call the Employment Standards Contact Centre toll-free at 1‑877‑427‑3731 or at 780‑427‑3731 in Edmonton.

 

Good luck to you and your daughter.

 

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 manage a local hotel and I constantly struggle to find and keep good people. Are there any programs available to help small business owners?

Dear Working Wise:

I manage a local hotel and I constantly struggle to find and keep good people. Are there any programs available to help small business owners? Singed, Hopeless Hotelier

 

Dear Hopeless:

 

Alberta’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.5 per cent—the second-lowest rate in the country—and there are 10,000 more Albertans working today than a year ago.

 

While this is good news for job seekers, the ongoing challenge of attracting, training and retaining staff in a competitive labour market can be exhausting for hiring managers.

 

And the staffing challenge is only expected to get tougher as waves of our most experienced workers begin to retire.

 

Due to our growing economy and aging workforce, Alberta is expected to face a shortage of up to 114,000 skilled workers within the decade.

 

Fortunately, there are a number of free and low-cost services available to help Alberta employers.

 

Try posting a free job ad on the Canada-Alberta Job Bank web site at www.jobbank.gc.ca.

 

Take advantage of free local job fairs and hiring events. Employer Connections events, for example, are mini job fairs that allow you to profile your business and job opportunities to local career counsellors and job seekers http://humanservices.alberta.ca/jobfairs.

 

Check out the staff attraction and retention tips in the Employer Tool Kit http://eae.alberta.ca/labour-and-immigration/employer-toolkit.aspx.

 

Post a free job ad or find out about upcoming job fairs and staff-recruitment workshops for employers on local Alberta Works social media channels, including:

Calgary: http://twitter.com/@CalgaryJobFeed

Calgary: www.facebook.com/calgaryjobsfeed

Red Deer: www.facebook.com/CentralAlbertaJobs

Fort McMurray: www.facebook.com/fortmcmurrayjobs

Lethbridge: www.facebook.com/Lethbridgejobs

Medicine Hat: www.facebook.com/MedicineHatJobs

 

Or get in touch with your local Business and Industry Liaison. Alberta Human Services has Business and Industry Liaison staff who specialize in helping employers tackle staffing challenges and navigate all of the available employer services.

 

A Business and Industry Liaison can you help by:

·         Providing information on how you can tap into hidden labour pools;

·         Offering helpful publications full of staff attraction and retention tips;

·         Informing you of upcoming low-cost staff recruitment best practice workshops;

·         Guiding you toward useful statistics like wage surveys and labour market forecasts;

·         Explaining how the Disability Related Employment Supports program helps employers hire and retain employees with disabilities; and

·         Connecting you with local hiring events and opportunities.

 

Get in touch with your local Business and Industry Liaison today and put their expertise to work for you.

 

Call your nearest Alberta Works Office and ask to speak to a Business and Industry Liaison. You can find the Alberta Works Office nearest you by clicking on:   http://humanservices.alberta.ca/offices.

 

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.

 

I’m adding an outdoor patio to my café this summer and need a little extra help. I am considering hiring my 13-year-old nephew, but I’m wondering if there are any issues related to hiring someone that young?

Dear Working Wise:

I’m adding an outdoor patio to my café this summer and need a little extra help. I am considering hiring my 13-year-old nephew, but I’m wondering if there are any issues related to hiring someone that young? Signed, Anxious Owner

 

Dear Anxious:

 

Summer jobs are a great way for teens to save money for a car or their post-secondary education. Jobs also help kids learn critical employability skills, good work habits, and the true value of a dollar.

 

Young workers are covered by the same employment standards, e.g., holiday pay and minimum wage, as other workers, but there are some special rules employers should know when it comes to employing people under the age of 18.

 

Adolescent Albertans, aged 12-14, can work in the following approved jobs:

- office messenger or clerk;

- delivery person (e.g., flyers, flowers);

- retail store clerk (e.g., music store); and

- certain jobs in the restaurant and food-service industry, with restrictions.

 

Permitted food-service industry jobs include: host/hostess, cashier, dishwasher, busser, server, customer service, order assembler, and cleaner.

 

But, they can not accept work that may harm their life, health, education or welfare. For these reasons, adolescents can not:

- sell liquor in licensed premises;

- work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.;

- work during normal school hours;

- work in areas where smoking is permitted;

- work without continuous adult supervision;

- work for longer than two hours on a school day;

- work for longer than eight hours on a non-school day; or

- use or work near dangerous equipment such as deep fryers, grills or slicers.

 

A Safety Checklist of Adolescent Employees in Restaurant and Food Services must also be completed and signed by the employer, adolescent and parents before the young worker can start working. 

 

Adolescents may be able to take on other jobs, but the employer, adolescent and his/her parents must first apply for a permit, jointly, to employ an adolescent. Employers and parents are responsible for ensuring that adolescent workers are competent and safe.

 

Employers are required by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code to keep young workers safe by:

- completing a written hazard assessment;

- controlling or eliminating all safety hazards;

- ensuring the health and safety of the employee; and

- warning the adolescent about any hazards that may affect him or her.

 

Teens, aged 15 to 17, have fewer restrictions and are free to take on more types of jobs, but they are subject to special conditions as well.

 

Alberta Human Services has published tip sheets for employers and parents on hiring younger workers, which are available at: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/working-in-alberta/5369.html.

 

If you have any more questions about employing younger workers, call the Alberta Employment Standards helpline at 1-877-427-3731 or visit http://employment.alberta.ca  and click on Safe and Fair Workplaces under Working in Alberta.

 

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.

 


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