Temporary Changes to Employment Standards

Temporary workplace rules are in effect as of March 17, 2020, to help employers and employees manage rapidly changing conditions. These changes will be in place as long as government determines they are no longer needed and the public health emergency order remains.

We are:

  • creating an unpaid job-protected leave for employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19
    • The 90-day employment requirement is waived.
    • The leave length is flexible and linked to guidance from the Chief Medical Officer.
    • A medical note is not required.
  • regular personal and family responsibility leave rules continue to apply for all other circumstances
  • removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes
  • removing the requirement for 2 weeks notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement
  • removing the employer requirement to provide group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated
    • individual termination entitlements remain in effect
    • employers must still give group termination notices to the Minister of Labour and Immigration as soon as is practical
  • increasing the maximum time for temporary layoffs from 60 days to 120 days
    • this change is retroactive for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17
  • streamlining approvals for modifying employment standards (variances and exemptions) related to COVID-19

Job-protected leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

Eligible employees:

  • are not required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

This leave:

  • covers the 14-day isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer
  • may be extended if the advice of the chief medical officer changes
  • does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors

Vacation pay, leave or banked overtime

Employers and employees may consider using other available leaves if an employee needs to isolate.

  • Employees can request using their vacation pay or banked overtime, but employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay and vacation leave within a year of it being earned, or banked overtime within 6 months of it being earned.
  • Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.