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Not Sure If Your Employer Is Following the Rules? Here’s How to Tell.

Most Albertan’s are aware that there are laws in place to protect workers at their jobs. That’s the reason we don’t have practices like child labour and why we have a minimum wage in place. 

But the average worker probably doesn’t know a lot about the particular details of the laws or their rights. Employers can easily take advantage of this, especially when workers are young or vulnerable.  

One of the main written laws in place in Alberta is the Employment Standards Code. This code provides the ‘minimum standards of employment that apply to the majority of employers and employees in the province, with the exception of those working in federally regulated industries.’ This means that this code applies to about 85 per cent of all workers in Alberta. 

Before the recent update in 2018, the code hadn’t been changed since 1988. Needless to say, a lot of changes have happened in workplaces since the 80s so an update was needed. 

How exactly are workers supposed to ensure that their employers are following the code when it covers so many aspects of the workplace? It can seem like a daunting task so we have listed a few helpful ways to make sure your employer is following the code. 


1. Use Alberta Government Learning Services

The Alberta government offers lots of educational tools and resources on the Employment Standards Code. Watch some of the interactive videos on rules and responsibilities or you can also easily download posters, brochures and toolkits that explain the employment standards rules. There is a list of scheduled webinars that you can attend online and recordings of previous ones to go over. There are also multiple self-assessment tools to determine if your employer is complying with the code.



2. Contact Employment Standards 

If you aren’t sure about whether or not your employer is following the code – just ask. You can contact the employment standards department of the government in aneasy online form or by phone. There is also a mailing list that you can sign up for that will give you the latest information on employment standards in Alberta.



3. Contact A Union

Labour unions have set the bar for employee rights for all workers, not just union members. From wages to health and safety to legal rights – unions know all about the workplace. If you think that your employer might not be following the Employment Standards Code, they’re a great resource to reach out to. If your employer is constantly neglecting labour laws, workplace representation is also another option to ensure they follow the rules.



4. Read About the Latest Changes

The changes to the code that came to this year were important and have an impact on all industries across Alberta. It’s important to make sure your employer is keeping up with them. The main changes were to protected leaves, compressed work weeks, deductions, minimum wage, overtime, holiday pay, vacation pay, termination, layoffs and youth employment. 



You shouldn’t have to check up on your employer to see if they are following the rules, but the sad truth is that many employers try to find ways around the law. Issues such as wage theft, health violations and harassment are still major problems in Alberta workplaces and employers shouldn’t be getting away with it. 



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Do you have any questions about your rights in the workplace or need someone to talk to about your job stress? Contact one of our free labour counsellors at (403) 259-4608 or info@loveyourjob.ca.

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