New employment standards that went in to effect January 1 are meant to protect the rights of Albertan’s while still trying to meet the needs of modern workplaces. The Alberta NDP passed The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act in June and they say the act brings Alberta more in line with other provinces. It is the first time the code has been updated since 1988.
Job protection will now be in place for those that need to take a leave of absence including bereavement leave, long-term illness and injury leave and a leave to care for critically ill/injured adult or child. Leaves will now be available to people after 90 days of employment rather than one year. Changes to maternity care benefits will help align it with the federal program which now allows now parents to spread their benefits out over a year and a half. Anyone who banks hours will now be able to do so at the rate of 1.5 hours for every overtime hour worked.
Changes to the Youth Employment Act are pending. The province says those changes will come into effect after the Ministry finishes consultations on the list of light work jobs and the definition of hazardous work. Some of those proposed changes include youth 15 and under not being permitted to work between the hours of 12:01 and 6:00 a.m. and youth under 16 would be banned from jobs that include hazardous work.
The government says the bill was created after consultation with stakeholders and more that 5,000 responses to an online survey.