As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring compliance with the minimum wage requirements set out in the Employment Standards Code (ESC).
What is the minimum wage in Alberta?
The current general minimum wage rate in Alberta is $15.00 per hour, as per the Employment Standards Code.
Minimum wages do not include expense money or tips. Salespersons (including land agents and certain professionals) are entitled to a minimum wage of $598 per week. Domestic employees living in their employer’s home are entitled to a minimum wage of $2,848 per month.
When did the minimum wage go up in Alberta?
Alberta increased the minimum wage to $15 from the previous rate of $13.60 per hour in October 2018 . It was the first province in Canada to increase the minimum wage to this level.
Why did Alberta increase the minimum wage?
Alberta increased minimum wage rates in 2018 to $15.00 per hour for a few reasons; the government hoped a higher wage would reduce poverty, lessen the burden on social support programs, improve the quality of life for Alberta workers, and improve employee satisfaction.
Are there plans to increase the minimum wage in Alberta?
The Province of Alberta has not announced any plans to increase the minimum wage at this time.
What is the minimum wage in Alberta for students under 18?
As of June 26, 2019, the minimum wage for students under 18 is $13/hour. Employers can still choose to pay students more than this minimum wage. This new rate applies to the first 28 hours worked in a week when school is in session. Students must be paid the general minimum wage of $15/hour for any hours exceeding 28 hours in one week. Overtime rules still apply.
What about weekly minimum wage rates?
Alberta employees entitled to the weekly minimum wage rate are entitled to earn $598 per week.
The types of professions that are eligible for this rate include salespersons, land agents, architects, accountants, chiropractors, dentists, engineers or geoscientists, lawyers, optometrists, podiatrists, psychologists, veterinarians, agrologists, denturists, and information systems professionals.
What are Alberta’s domestic employee wage rates?
The minimum wage rate for domestic employees who live in their employer’s homes is $2,848 per month. For domestic employees who don’t live in their employer’s home, it is $15 per hour.
A domestic employee is defined as a person employed to work in an employer’s residence for the care, comfort and convenience of members of that residence. This does not include casual babysitting.
All domestic employees are entitled to the minimum wage, general (statutory) holidays with pay, a copy of their statement of earnings and deductions for each pay period, a rest period of at least 30 minutes, paid or unpaid, for each consecutive 5 hours of work, at least 1 day of rest in each work week, vacations and vacation pay, notice of termination of employment, and job-protected leaves.
Employees who live in their employer’s home
For employees who live in their employer’s home, employers are required to pay the full monthly minimum wage rate, regardless of the number of hours worked.
Pro-rating of the monthly minimum wage is allowed where the employee agrees to work for a portion of a month, such as mornings only. The maximum allowable deductions an employer can make are $4.41 per night of lodging and $3.35 per meal. Deductions can’t be made for meals not consumed.
Employees who don’t live in their employer’s home:
For employees who don’t live in their employer’s home, the minimum wage rate applies for all hours worked. Meal deductions from the minimum wage rate cannot exceed $3.35 per meal consumed.
Employers should note that overtime compensation and restrictions on maximum hours of work don’t apply to domestic employees.
Minimum wage requirements for short periods of work
Employers are required to pay employees for a minimum of three hours of pay at the minimum wage each time they’re required to report to work or come to work for short periods. This 3-hour minimum doesn’t apply if the employee isn’t available to work the full 3 hours.
If an employee works for fewer than three consecutive hours, the employer must pay wages that are at least equal to three hours at the minimum wage. An exception is when an employee’s regular wage is greater than the minimum wage, then the employer may pay them for less than three hours of work at this higher rate.
The following employees must be paid minimum compensation for at least two hours at not less than minimum wage: school bus drivers, part-time employees of non-profit recreation or athletic programs run by a municipality, Metis Settlement or community service organization, home care employees, and adolescents (13, 14 and 15 years of age) who work on a school day.
If an employee is working a split shift and has more than a one-hour break between the two segments of the shift, they must be paid the minimum compensation described above for each segment of their shift.
Employees attending a compulsory meeting or training session
Employees are required to be paid at least the minimum wage (and overtime, if applicable) for any compulsory meetings or training that occurs on an employee’s regularly scheduled day off. If the meeting or training is less than three hours in length, the three-hour minimum rule applies.
Employees ‘on call’ or ‘on standby’ at home
- Employees who are ‘on call’ or ‘on standby’ are not required to be paid during the time in which they are waiting to be called into work.
- Alternatively, if an employee is required to work at home, the employee must be paid for hours worked at their regular rate of pay, plus applicable overtime, for the actual time worked
Incentive-based pay or commission
Employees who are paid on an incentive or commission basis also need to receive a rate of at least the minimum wage for all hours worked during the pay period. To calculate this, the employer must determine if the minimum compensation entitlement has been met.
Minimum compensation entitlement
To assess the compensation entitlement, an employee’s wages must be totalled for the pay period set by the employer (a maximum of one month) and then divided by the total number of hours worked in that period.
- if the calculated hourly wage rate is less than the minimum wage, the employee must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked
- if the calculated rate is higher than the minimum wage, the employee must be paid their incentive-based pay or commission
Meals and lodging
With written authorization from employees, employers are permitted to reduce the employee’s wages below the minimum wage by a maximum of:
- $4.41 for each day the employer provides the employee with lodging
- $3.35 for each meal consumed by the employee
Deductions for uniforms are not permitted. This includes costs associated with the purchase, use, cleaning or repair of a uniform, or any other special article of clothing that an employee is required to wear during their hours of work.
The following employees are exempt from minimum wage standards:
- real estate brokers
- securities salespersons
- insurance salespersons paid entirely by commission
- students in a work experience program approved by the Alberta government
- students in an off-campus education program provided under the Education Act
- extras in a film or video production
- counsellors or instructors at a non-profit educational or recreational camp for children, handicapped individuals, or religious groups
- municipal police service members; and post-secondary academic
Minimum wage and employer responsibility
Employers in Alberta are responsible for ensuring they are paying all employees a legal, fair wage. This includes following all requirements regarding hourly, weekly, and monthly minimum wage, as well as incentive-based pay or commission pay. If you need help managing minimum wage payments for employees, please call our employer advice line at 1 (833) 247-3652.