Bill 17 Modernizes Alberta's Workplace Legislation, But Not Without Costs
The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act was introduced yesterday in the Alberta Legislature. The proposed Bill puts forward significant changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code. The Employment Standards Code currently impacts the nonprofit sector more than the Labour Relations Code, and remains the focus of our work during the review of workplace legislation. Both nonprofit employers and employees will be significantly impacted by the changes. While changes to the Employment Standards Code will make strides in establishing a healthy workforce in Alberta’s nonprofit sector, the adjustments have financial and human resource costs as well as operational impacts for employers. Higher standards for overtime and job-protected leaves will put pressure on the way some nonprofits operate.
New Employment Standards include:
- Overtime banking would be calculated at 1.5x for all hours worked, rather than hour-for-hour
- Overtime can now be banked for 6 months rather than 3
- Maternity and paternity leave will extend to match federal policies, changing maternity leave coverage from 15 weeks to 16 weeks; parental leave remains at 37 weeks
- New job-protected, unpaid, leaves can be taken, including long-term illness and injury (16 weeks), bereavement (3 days), domestic violence (10 days), critical illness of a child (36 weeks), and death or disappearance of a child (52 and 104 weeks), any of which can be taken by an employee who has worked at the organization for a minimum of 90 days
Changes are scheduled to come into effect January 1, 2018.
Overall, an updated Employment Standards Code will bring Alberta in line with the workplace legislation of many other Canadian provinces. Alberta Labour plans to undertake a public communication and education plan as changes come into effect. Organizations will need to take steps to bring their own policies, procedures, and operating practices into compliance.
Moving forward, CCVO will engage the sector to learn more about the impact of these changes, and possible supports to mitigate the impact of a new Employment Standards Code.