Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #33
01282020Tue
Last updateMon, 27 Jan 2020 12pm

I am working on a road-paving crew this summer. A couple of days have already been so hot that a few of us on my crew felt like we were going to pass out. What can I do to keep my cool this summer?

 workingintheheat.jpg

 

Dear Working Wise

I am working on a road-paving crew this summer. A couple of days have already been so hot that a few of us on my crew felt like we were going to pass out. What can I do to keep my cool this summer? Signed Overheated

 

Dear Overheated:

Summer has finally arrived and that means it’s time for workers and employers to start thinking about working safely in the heat.

 

Our bodies work best in a very narrow temperature range. Raising or lowering your core temperature a couple of degrees beyond normal (98.6° F or 37° C) can cause severe damage to your brain, heart and other organs.

 

Our bodies regulate temperature by sweating and shivering. If you don’t replace the fluid you lose from sweating, you can dehydrate and your body will stop sweating. Heat will build up and you will be in serious trouble.

 

Early warning signs of heat stress include: headache, dizziness, fatigue, feeling faint, irritability, heavy sweating, heat rash, muscle cramps, dehydration, and changes in breathing and pulse.

 

Keep your cool this summer with these tips:

- create shade and work in the shade when possible;

- take short frequent breaks away from the heat/sun;

- wear reflective/insulated/cooled clothing near heat sources;

- limit your sun exposure especially during peak times (Noon – 3 p.m.);

- drink small amounts of water frequently, e.g., a cup every 20 minutes;

- wear loose-fitting lightweight clothing that wicks sweat away from the skin;

- avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol and pop, because they tend to dehydrate you;

- wear a wide-brimmed hat, UV-absorbent sunglasses and minimum SPF 30 sunscreen. 

 

You and your employer can also help limit the effects of working in the heat by:

-   lowering the air temperature with air conditioning;

-   increasing air circulation with a fan, ventilation system or by opening doors and windows;  

-   lowering the humidity using an air conditioner, dehumidifier or ventilation system;

-   decreasing exposure to radiant heat (e.g., asphalt, heavy machinery, etc.) by moving hot equipment away from the work area, moving the work away from things that radiate heat, or by using barriers to reflect or block the sun/heat;

-   avoiding intense physical activity during the hottest times;

-   using extra workers for the job and rotating workers between more and less demanding activities;

-   implementing a schedule of work and rest periods; and

-   providing a cool rest area for workers to recuperate.

 

For more tips and information on working safely in the heat, check out the Government of Alberta’s booklet: Best Practice – Working Safely in the Heat and Cold, which is available at: http://employment.alberta.ca/documents/WHS/WHS-PUB_gs006.pdf.

 

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 have been looking for a summer job for the past four weeks with no luck. Last summer, I was lucky to find a job as a Receptionist with a home builder, but they are not hiring students this summer and it seems like no one else is either. What can I do? S

 mid-summerjobsearch.jpg

Dear Hire This Student:

 

The job market is still challenging for younger workers, but don’t lose hope, there are still jobs out there—you just have to work a little harder and try a few new techniques.

 

Write a resumé

Get a resumé if you don’t already have one. More and more employers, even some fast-food restaurants, expect resumes. If you are not sure how to write a resumé, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site at www.alis.alberta.ca and check out their tip sheets and sample resumes.

 

Improve your resumé

Show your future boss that you mean business by ensuring your resumé looks professional and is free of errors. Ask a parent or someone else you trust to review your resume and make suggestions. You can also use the free e-Resume Review Service on the ALIS website.

 

Network

Use your network of friends and family to get the message out that you are looking for work. Most jobs are not advertised—networking is a great way to tap into that hidden job market.

 

Focus on your transferable skills

Most students do not have that much work experience, but that does not mean you do not have a lot to offer. Highlight the transferable skills that you have gained through school, hobbies, volunteering and life experience. Transferable skills include things like: interpersonal, organizational, computer, time management, and money-management skills. For more ideas on transferable skills, visit the ALIS web site and check out the tip sheets on skills. 

 

Target your search

Do not just look at job postings. Decide what you want to do and who you want to work for and then go after that job. Consider your interests, your strengths, and careers you might want to “try out”. Find out who does the hiring and customize your cover letter and resumé to that specific person, company and job. Who knows, instead of a summer job, you just might land yourself a stepping stone into your future career. The experience and connections you make will be invaluable once you graduate. And, trying a career first may help you avoid investing a lot of time and money in training for a career you actually don’t enjoy.

 

Use Government Services

Visit your nearest Service Canada Centre for Youth (formerly Hire-a-Student) office. There you can get free job-search assistance, including job postings, interview advice, resumé building, and connections to employers who typically hire summer students.Job postings are available online at www.jobbank.gc.ca. Service Canada Centres for Youth are open every summer, May through August. To find a centre near you, visit

www.servicecanada.gc.ca/sccy.

 

Career services for all Albertans—including young Albertans—are available year-round at the 40 Labour Market Information Centres (LMIC) located throughout the province. To find the centre nearest you, visit www.employment.alberta.ca/lmic.

 

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.

 

A friend of mine has been a loyal employee at a well-known retailer for over six years. She has never had a problem booking her holidays. This year, she received approval to take three separate weeks of holidays between now and Christmas, but her employer

 vacationpay2_peskymonkey.jpg

Dear Concerned:

 

First, I would like to clarify that Holidays and Holiday Pay are related to Statutory Holidays. It sounds like your friend is wondering about her Vacation and Vacation Pay.

 

Vacation and vacation-payentitlements are intended to ensure that you have a rest from work without loss of income.

 

Under Alberta’s Employment Standards, an employer can decide when an employee takes their vacation ifa mutually acceptable time for an employee's vacation can not be found.

 

However, most employers try to accommodate their staff whenever possible, because they want to retain their employees.

 

If an employer decides when an employee is taking their vacation, the employer must give the employee at least two weeks written notice of the start of their vacation.

 

Vacations must be given in one unbroken period unless the employee requests to take their vacation in shorter periods. This is permissible so long as those periods are at least one day long.

 

Employees are entitled to two weeks of vacation with pay after one year of employment. After five years of employment, they are entitled to three weeks vacation with pay.

 

Vacations must be taken sometime in the 12 months after the employee becomes entitled to the vacation.

 

If you are unable to take your vacation, your employer can pay you vacation pay in lieu.

 

Employees who are paid by the hour receive vacation pay as a percentage of their wages.

 

"Wages" includes any previously paid vacation pay, but does not include overtime earnings, general holiday pay, pay in lieu of a notice of termination or an unearned bonus.

 

In the first four years of employment, minimum vacation pay is four per cent of earned wages. In the fifth and subsequent years, minimum vacation pay increases to six per cent.

 

Part-time employees

Part-time employees have the same vacation and vacation-pay entitlements as full-time employees. The one important distinction is that their vacation or vacation pay will reflect their reduced hours. For example, part-time employees who only work two days per week are entitled to four paid vacation days after one year of employment.

 

Construction workers

Construction workers are not usually given annual vacation time, but are entitled to vacation pay. All construction employees (full-time and part-time) must be paid vacation pay equal to six per cent of the employee's wages.

 

Other workerswho are exempt from vacations and vacation pay entitlements:

·      employees on a farm or a ranch

·      salespersons working mainly away from the employer's premises who solicit orders for later delivery

·      professionals such as real estate brokers, and licensed insurance and securities salespersons

·      extras in a film or video production

·      employees covered by other Acts (e.g., academic staff)

·      municipal police officers

 

If your friend has any other concerns or questions, she can call theAlberta Employment Standards Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-427-3731 (780‑427‑3731 in Edmonton) or visitwww.employment.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 regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information.

 


The Drumheller Mail encourages commenting on our stories but due to our harassment policy we must remove any comments that are offensive, or don’t meet the guidelines of our commenting policy.