Open for Business: What Bill 2 Could Mean for Alberta Employers

On Monday, May 27, 2019, less than one month after being sworn in, Alberta’s United Conservative Party government introduced Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business (“Bill 2”). If passed, the amendments will make changes to the Alberta Employment Standards Code, Employment Standards Regulation and Labour Relations Code (the “LRC”). Here are some of the key changes.

Employment Standards Code

General Holiday Pay

Bill 2 re-introduces a qualifying period for General Holiday Pay. An employee will now have to work 30 days in the last 12 months before being eligible for holiday pay. This is a change from the current legislation which requires holiday pay immediately upon commencement of employment.

The Bill also re-introduces the distinction between regular and irregular workdays for the purpose of calculating holiday pay.

  • Employees who are regularly scheduled to work on a holiday and who work the holiday are entitled to receive either:
    • 1.5 times their regular wage for hours worked, plus their “average daily wage” or
    • Their regular wage for hours worked, their “average daily wage” and one day off work
  • Employees who are regularly scheduled to work on a holiday but who do not work on the holiday are entitled to their average daily wage.
  • Employees who are not regularly scheduled to work on the holiday and who do work the holiday are entitled to 1.5 times their regular wage for the hours worked.
  • Employees who are not regularly scheduled for that day and who do not work the holiday do not receive holiday pay.

Overtime

Flexible Averaging Agreements are repealed. Bill 2 will re-introduce the pre-January 2018 overtime agreement provisions, which allow employees to bank overtime and take it as straight time off (as opposed to the current banking of 1.5 times).

If the Bill passes, these general holiday and banked overtime changes would take effect on September 1, 2019.

Minimum Wage

Bill 2 maintains minimum wage at $15 per hour but introduces a Youth Job Creation Wage which reduces the minimum wage for young workers, aged 13 to 17, to $13 per hour, effective June 26, 2019.

Labour Relations Code

The LRC amendments reverse the auto-certification procedure and restore the mandatory secret ballot for union certification votes. Under the proposed amendments, unions will have a 90-day period to provide evidence of employee support for certification.

Bill 2 also introduces a support program for union employees to ensure that they understand and are able to exercise their rights under labour legislation, and proposes to strengthen the LRC provisions that reduce duplication of employment claims in multiple forums.

MLT Aikins is continuously monitoring these amendments and will provide further updates as they become available. If you have questions about how Bill 2 could affect your organization, our Alberta labour and employment team would be happy to help.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation