Calgary & Strathmore Employment Standards Lawyers

In Alberta, there are certain legal guarantees about things like hours, wages, overtime, holiday pay, and deductions from earnings. All of these, and more, are covered under the Alberta Employment Standards Code.

The knowledgeable employment lawyers at Getz Collins and Associates provide trusted guidance to employees in Calgary, Strathmore, and across Alberta, on their rights and entitlements under the Employment Standards Code. When disputes arise between our clients and their employers, we negotiate swift, fair settlements whenever possible and are prepared to vigorously advocate for employees in litigation as needed.

What Are Employment Standards?

Alberta’s employment standards are the minimum standards employers must provide to their employees. Notice that this is not a recommendation. These are the standards that must be met; otherwise, the employer could face negative consequences for their failure to comply.

The Employment Standards Code deals with a lot of different things, far more than simply an employee’s earnings. It governs the rules related to general holidays, deductions, exceptions for specific industries, group terminations, hours of work and rest, job-protected leave, minimum wage, overtime hours, payment of earnings, temporary layoffs, termination, vacations, and youth employment.

Employment Standards Related to Pay in Alberta

The employment standards that are the basis for many disputes between employees and employers in Alberta are those that relate to pay.

Deductions for Earnings

There are many laws about what can and cannot be deducted from an employee. For example, employers can deduct for any deductions required by law, recovery of overpayment, or things like dental plans and social funds (if the employee agrees to them). Other deductions, such as for uniforms, are not allowed, and there is a cap on deductions for meals and lodging.

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage must be met, and this must be from the employer. Tips and expense money don’t count towards the minimum wage. Similarly, an employee must be paid for at least three hours of minimum wage each time they go to work, even if they work for less than three hours. 


Most employees can earn overtime pay, but some professionals and employees are subject to exceptions. If an employee works more than eight hours in a day or if an employee works more than 44 hours in a week (whichever is greater), anything over is overtime (8/44 rule). Overtime is 1.5 times an employee’s regular wage, except where there is a written overtime agreement already in place.


Although there are some complexities to the entitlement of holiday pay, generally, if an employee has worked with the same employer for at least 30 days in the 12 months prior to a holiday, then they are entitled to holiday pay for any eligible holidays they work. This would be 1.5 times what they normally earn, or they could be granted regular pay for the holiday or a paid day off at their daily wage in the future.

How Is the Employment Standards Code Enforced?

Complaints and tips from employees are only one of the ways that rules are enforced. There are several other ways that they are enforced.

Alberta’s Employment Standards laws are enforced through audits, inspections, penalties, prosecutions, and judgment collection. That means that enforcement may be as simple as keeping an eye on an employer to ensure compliance. But it could also be as complicated as prosecuting an employer and slapping them with a fine as a penalty.

What Should I Do If My Employer Is Not Meeting Alberta’s Employment Standards?

If you suspect that you are not receiving the pay you are entitled to, or you believe your employer is failing to meet employment standards in other areas, then there are some steps you can take.

The first step is to speak to the employer about the issue. Sometimes this is enough to clear up an issue and save you a lot of time.

You can also contact Employment Standards to ask questions to determine whether or not your employer has broken any rules. You can also file a complaint, which is a more serious and complicated step. Your name is linked to the complaint, and it instigates a formal investigation. Thankfully, however, your employer is not legally allowed to terminate your employment over a complaint.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, you may consider appealing the decision.

What Is the Penalty For Employment Standards Violations?

Employers are required to meet employment standards. Failing to comply with these standards can lead to disciplinary actions being taken against the employer, such as an administrative penalty. Multiple violations will result in progressive penalties being applied. In addition, the employer may be required to pay the employee the money they are owed.

An administrative penalty may be imposed for failing to comply with the standards or failing to comply with an enforcement action. Administrative penalties may range from as low as $500 to as high as $6000, depending on the level of administrative penalty and whether or not it is a first-time violation of the standards or a regular occurrence.

Getz Collins and Associates: Helping Employees Navigate Employment Standards Issues in Calgary, Strathmore & Across Alberta

Getz Collins and Associates services Alberta employees with exceptional employment law advice, including guidance on employment standards concerns. Our professional employment lawyers assist employees with employment standards complaints and investigations, negotiate with their employer for a fair resolution, or advocate for the employee at trial if needed.

For decades, Getz Collins and Associates has been a touchstone of the Alberta legal landscape, maintaining an unyielding commitment to client-centred service across the province. With convenient locations in Calgary and Strathmore, the firm proudly serves clients in all surrounding communities, including historically underserved areas. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our employment law team, please contact us online or call (587) 391-5600.