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Alberta Government Implements Temporary Changes to Employment Standards

Alberta Government Implements Temporary Changes to Employment Standards
By  Birch Miller, Laura Dunnigan, de Lobe Lederman and Lindsey Knibbs
April 8, 2020

On April 6, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced the following temporary changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (Code) to help employers navigate the unprecedented circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  • The maximum period for temporary layoffs has been increased from 60 days to 120 days, subject to certain limited circumstances which may provide for a further extension. Notably, this change has been made retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17, 2020.

  • Employers are no longer required to provide group termination notice to affected employees and unions when terminating the employment of 50 or more employees. However, employers must still give group termination notice to the Minister of Labour and Immigration as soon as is practicable. Individuals are still entitled to statutory notice of termination, or pay in lieu thereof, under the Code.

  • Employers are no longer required to provide employees with 24-hours’ written notice of shift changes. Similarly, the requirement for employers to provide employees with two weeks' notice of changes to work schedules under averaging agreements has been removed.

  • Employees who are caring for ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19, or for children who have been affected by the closure of schools and daycares, now have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The length of the unpaid leave is flexible and there is no requirement to have been employed by the same employer for 90 days to qualify.

  • The process to obtain approvals for modifications to employment standards under the Code has been changed to permit employers and employees to respond quicker to changing conditions in the wake of COVID-19.

The provincial government has announced that these temporary changes to the Code are effective as of April 6, 2020. They will remain in place as long as the provincial government determines they are needed and the public health emergency order remains in effect.
For further information, please contact:
Birch Miller                   403-260-9613
Laura Dunnigan           403-260-9709
de Lobe Lederman      403-260-9798
Lindsey Knibbs             403-260-9724
or any other member of our Employment & Labour group.
Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre to learn more about how COVID-19 may impact your business.