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Changes to business law catch some Alberta employers off-guard

Laws governing employers can change quickly, so it is important for business owners to stay aware of new developments. In Alberta, some owners have been caught off-guard by business law changes affecting labour. While most were aware of minimum wage changes, regulations governing holiday pay are also going to affect companies across the province.

Under the new legislation, eligible employees in Alberta are entitled to holiday pay even if they do not work on a statutory holiday. Previously, employees were only eligible for additional pay if they worked on the holiday along with at least five of the nine days preceding the holiday. Now, they will get five percent of their last month's pay regardless of whether they work on the holiday.

The business law is in line with other Canadian provincial employment standards; however, it is a sharp change from previous Alberta policies. Businesses had to start paying these vacation cost starting January 1, meaning that those closed on New Years Day had to start paying employees the new standard vacation pay immediately. This shift is accompanied by other changes, including changes to overtime pay entitlements and how long an employee has to work before he or she is eligible for benefits.

The sweeping business law changes passed on January 1 will undoubtedly affect business owners across Alberta. Those who are unaware of the extent of the legislation may be at higher risk for legal problems or business challenges in the new year, so it's a good idea for all employers to educate themselves on the changes. Those who are facing a challenge as an employee or employer in light of the new laws can benefit from the advice of a lawyer.

Source: CTV, "Some local businesses caught off guard by amendments to Alberta labour law", Colleen Schmidt, Jan. 10, 2018

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