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Business owners, Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business has passed and includes changes to general holiday pay, overtime, and labor relations. Bill 2 will help restore fairness and balance to the workplace and encourage job-creators to invest in Alberta with changes to general holiday pay and overtime take effect September 1. Here’s all that you need to know:

The General Rules

  • Most employees are entitled to take general holidays and receive general holiday pay immediately upon starting employment.
  • Most employees are entitled to general holidays and receive general holiday pay regardless of the day of the week the general holiday falls.
  • Employees who work a general holiday are entitled to either:
    • Pay of 1.5 times what they would normally earn for the hours worked in addition to an amount that is their average daily wage, or
    • Their standard wage rate for hours worked plus a day off at a future date and an amount that is their average daily wage for that day off.
  • Employees who don’t work on a general holiday and are eligible for general holiday pay must be paid at least their average daily wage.
  • Average daily wage calculated as 5% of the employee’s wages, general holiday pay and vacation pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday.
  • Most employees are eligible for general holidays and holiday pay immediately upon employment.
    • Employees are not eligible if they:
      • Don’t work on a general holiday but are required or scheduled to do so
      • Are absent from employment without consent of the employer on the employee’s last regular working day preceding, or the first regular working day following, the general holiday.

Exemptions:

The following employees aren’t eligible for general holidays and general holiday pay:

  • Salespersons selling automobiles, recreational vehicles, trucks, buses, manufactured homes, farm machinery, and heavy-duty construction and road equipment
  • Registered or licensed salespersons selling investments, stocks or bonds
  • Authorized salespersons of real estate and salespersons selling homes for the builder of those homes
  • Licensed insurance salespersons who are paid entirely by commission income
  • Salespersons, other than route salespersons, who solicit orders principally outside the employer’s place of business and are paid in whole or in part by commission
  • Extras in a film or video production
  • Counselors or instructors at an educational or recreational camp that is operated on a charitable or not-for-profit basis for: children, handicapped individuals or religious purposes
  • Salespersons who are at least 16 years old and are engaged in direct selling for licensed direct sellers

Exceptions:

The following industries have different rules for the entitlement to general holidays and general holiday pay.

Construction Workers

The Employment Standards Regulation creates special rules for on-site construction workers. These rules provide a benefit equal to that of employees in other industries who are given a day off with pay for each general holiday.

Construction employee rules specify that:

  • Construction employees are entitled to general holiday pay immediately upon employment
  • Construction employees are not entitled to additional pay for working on general holidays, or to these days off with pay
  • Both full-time and part-time construction employees are entitled to general holiday pay equal to 3.6% of the employee’s wages

General holiday pay must be paid to construction employees:

  • On or before December 31 of each year
  • On termination of employment
  • On each pay period

Farm and Ranch Workers

Due to the nature of employment and work in the farm and ranch sector, waged, non-family farm and ranch employees are not usually given general holidays off with pay.

Farm and ranch employee rules specify that:

  • If an employee works on a general holiday, the employer must pay an amount that is at least equal to the employee’s wage rate for each hour of work on the general holiday and either:
    • provide one day’s holiday on a day that would normally be a workday for the employee, to be taken within 30 days of the general holiday or at a later time agreed to, in writing, by the employer and employee, and pay the employee holiday pay in an amount that is at least equal to 4.2% of their wages, vacation pay and general holiday pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday
    • pay additional general holiday pay for the day of an amount that is at least 4.2% of the employee’s wages, vacation pay and general holiday pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday
  • If an employee does not work on a general holiday, the employer must:
    • pay the employee general holiday pay of an amount that is at least 4.2% of the employee’s wages, vacation pay and general holiday pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday

How Things Have Changed

General Holiday Pay and Banked Overtime Changes-

Bill 2 will:

  • Return to a holiday pay qualifying period of 30 workdays in the last 12 months before a general holiday
  • Return to regular/irregular workday distinctions:
    • If a holiday falls on a day that is normally a workday for the employee and they worked on the holiday, they are still entitled to the same amount of general holiday pay as before. There are two options for paying employees holiday pay:
      • The employee gets 1.5 times their regular wage for hours worked and average daily wage.
      • The employee gets their regular wage rate for hours worked and average daily wage with one day off work.
    • If a holiday falls on a day that is normally a workday for the employee and the employee did not work on the holiday, they are entitled to their average daily wage.
    • If a holiday falls on a day that is not normally a workday for the employee and they work on the holiday, they are still entitled to 1.5 times their regular wage rate for hours worked.
    • If the holiday falls on a day that is not normally a workday for the employee and the employee did not work on the holiday, they are not entitled to general holiday pay.
  • Give employers and employees the option to develop straight-time banked hours arrangements and repeal Flexible Averaging Agreements (changes to overtime banking mean these agreements will no longer be needed)

Labor Relations Changes-

Bill 2 will:

  • Restore the mandatory secret ballot for all union certification votes
  • Return to a 90-day period for unions to provide evidence of employee support for certification
  • Establish a program to support and assist employees to better understand and exercise their rights under labor legislation
  • Strengthen rules that coordinate employment-related complaints when these complaints involve multiple forums

Next steps

  • General holiday pay and banked overtime changes will take effect on September 1, 2019
  • Labor relations changes will come into effect upon receiving Royal Assent
  • Support for employees will be in place by October 1, 2019

If you’re concerned how these changes may effect your staff & business, be sure to contact a professional! KBH is here to Help You Succeed: info@kbh.ca

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