In Alberta, the rights of employees to minimum pay, vacation, and holiday pay are protected by the Alberta Human Rights Act and enforced by the Employment Standards Code. In this post, we’ll answer questions about minimum wage in Alberta, vacation, and holiday pay according to Alberta law.
What is minimum wage in Alberta?
The minimum wage all Alberta employees are entitled to is currently $ 15.00 per hour.
Am I entitled to holiday pay?
Most Alberta employees are entitled to have general (or statutory) holidays off work with pay. With some exceptions (detailed below), employees are entitled to general holiday pay if they’ve worked for the same employer for at least 30 workdays in the 12 months prior to the holiday.
If the general holiday falls on a day you don’t normally work, your employer is not required to pay you for that holiday if you didn’t work that day. For example, if you never work on Sundays and the general holiday is on a Sunday, you won’t get holiday pay for it.
Your employer does not have to pay you holiday pay if you were scheduled to work on a holiday but you didn’t actually work that day (e.g. you called in sick or just didn’t show up), or if you don’t show up to work on your last regular working day before the general holiday or your first regular working day after the general holiday.
For example, if the general holiday falls on a Thursday and you want to create an extra long weekend for yourself by not showing up to work on Friday (without your employer’s consent), your employer doesn’t have to pay you holiday pay for the Thursday general holiday.
Employees exempt from the minimum standards for general holidays and holiday pay:
- For licensed direct sellers
- Selling vehicles, including RVs, manufactured homes, farm machinery, and construction and road equipment
- Registered and licensed to sell investments, stocks, or bonds
- Authorized to sell real estate
- Selling insurance and paid by commission
- Soliciting orders principally outside your employer’s place of business and paid by commission
- Counsellors or instructors at an education or recreational camp operated on a charitable or non-profit basis for children, disabled individuals, or religious purposes
- Extras in a film or video production
How much do I get paid for statutory holidays?
If the general holiday falls on your regular day of work, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your normal wage (“time and a half”) for the hours you work, or give you a paid day off in the future at your average daily wage.
What are stat holidays in Alberta?
Statutory (or general) holidays in Alberta are the following days:
- January 1—New Year’s Day
- 3rd Monday in February—Alberta Family Day
- Friday before Easter—Good Friday
- Monday before May 25—Victoria Day
- July 1 (or July 2 when July 1 falls on a Sunday)—Canada Day
- 1st Monday in September—Labour Day
- 2nd Monday in October—Thanksgiving Day
- November 11—Remembrance Day
- December 25–Christmas Day
The following general holidays are optional in Alberta, which means your employer may choose to treat these days as additional general holidays or not:
- 1st Monday following Easter—Easter Monday
- 1st Monday in August—Heritage Day
- December 26—Boxing Day
What if I’m on vacation during a general holiday?
If a general holiday occurs on a day during your vacation, you’re entitled to take a day off with pay on the first scheduled working day after your vacation. Alternatively, in agreement with your employer, you can take a future day off with pay before your next annual vacation.
Do I have a right to vacation pay?
Yes, part-time and full-time employees in Alberta are entitled to vacation time and vacation pay after 1 year of employment. However, some employees are exempt from vacations and vacation pay, including:
- Licensed or registered real estate and securities salespeople
- Commission salespeople who solicit orders principally outside their employer’s place of business
- Extras in film or video productions
- Licensed insurance salespeople who are paid entirely by commission
Do I have to take my allotted vacation time?
Yes, Alberta employees must take the vacation to which you’re entitled, and your employer must give you the vacation time to which you’re entitled. If you’ve already been paid vacation pay, your time off will be without pay.
How much vacation time am I entitled to?
Alberta employers are required to provide annual vacations to employees they’ve employed for 1 year. Employees must take their vacation time within the 12 months after they earn it. Vacations must be in one unbroken period unless the employee requests the vacation to be split into shorter periods.
If you’ve worked for your employer for 1-5 years, you’re entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks’ vacation.
If you’ve worked for your employer for more than 5 years, you’re entitled to a minimum of 3 weeks’ vacation.
How is vacation pay calculated?
Vacation pay is based on your wages, not including overtime pay, holiday pay, termination pay, unearned bonuses, tips, or expenses and allowances.
If you get paid by a monthly salary
Your employer must pay your regular pay rate for your vacation time. Each week of vacation pay is calculated by dividing your monthly wage by 4.3333 (the average number of weeks in a month).
If you don’t get paid monthly
If you get paid hourly, weekly, or by commission or other incentive pay:
- If the length of your employment is 4 years or less, your vacation pay is 4% of your wages
- If the length of your employment is 5 years or more, your vacation pay is 6% of your yearly wages
Can my employer reduce my vacation pay?
Yes, your employer can reduce your vacation pay, but they’re required to notify you before the start of the pay period in which the reduction takes effect. However, your vacation pay must never be reduced to less than the minimum required by the Employment Standards Code. A reduction can only be applied to future vacation pay, not retroactively.
When am I entitled to receive my vacation pay?
Your employer has 4 options for when to pay your vacation pay:
- At least once a month
- Each pay period
- At least 1 day before your vacation, if vacation pay has not previously been paid out and if you request it
- No later than the next regular pay day after your vacation begins
Am I entitled to vacation pay if I quit my job?
If you quit your job before you’ve worked there for a year, you’re entitled to 4% of the wages you earned during your employment for vacation pay.
If you quit your job after you’re entitled to annual vacation (after 12 months of employment), you’re entitled to:
- Any unpaid vacation entitlements for the previous year, plus:
- 4% of your wages for the period from the date you last became entitled to an annual vacation to your employment termination date if you’re entitled to 2 weeks’ vacation
- 6% of your wages for the period from the date you last became entitled to an annual vacation to your employment termination date if you’re entitled to 3 weeks’ vacation
Your employer is required to pay out your vacation pay within 10 consecutive days after the end of your last pay period, or 31 consecutive days after your last day of employment.
This post is a general overview of minimum pay, holiday pay, and vacation pay in Alberta. There’s more detail about all of this, including exemptions, variations for employees paid by incentive pay plans, complications due to termination, and more. If you think your employment situation is an exception to the basic rules outlined here, contact the award-winning employment lawyers at Osuji & Smith today.