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HR Governance

New Legal Updates

For the first time in nearly 30 years – 29 to be exact – Alberta is substantially updating their Employment Standards Code with the introduction of Bill 17, which is called the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act. This change will impact companies that are provincially regulated, effective January 1st, 2018.

Leave Guidelines

Previously, many employers had instituted restrictions on when an employee could take a leave of absence from the workplace. For example, an employee could not take a vacation until they had completed one year of service. Starting next year, employees will be able to take leaves following their first 90 days of employment (excluding minor exceptions).

New Leaves of Absences

There will also be a handful of brand new protected Leaves of Absences, essentially aligning the province more closely with federal regulations. Each has their own criteria and parameters, so it is best to be careful since some will impact internal processes relating to WCB and health-related incidents. If you need assistance determining whether you are compliant, please do not hesitate to contact an HR Services Consultant at Honiva Consulting Ltd. We can help you turn the legal regulations into actionable business procedures.

Specifically, the new Leaves of Absences include:

• Personal and Family Responsibility Leave • Long Term Illness and Injury Leave • Bereavement Leave • Domestic Violence Leave • Citizenship Ceremony Leave • Critical Illness of a Child Leave • Death or Disappearance of a Child Leave

At this time, these new Leaves of Absences are unpaid but many employers do provide compensation at their own discretion.

Notable Changes

There will also be changes to Maternity and Paternity Leaves that employers must understand, which are aimed to promote employee job protection as they navigate major familial life events.

As well there will be new rules affecting Rest Periods, Compressed Work Weeks, Payroll Deductions, Minimum Wage, and Overtime. Plus, there will be additional changes touching upon the eligibility of employees to receive Holiday/Vacation Pay and Time-Off. Plus, regulations relating to the execution of termination and layoff procedures. There will also be further impacts that specifically affect different demographic groups, such as youth workers, people with disabilities, and farm workers.

Risk Management

So with the laundry list of impending changes, it is a very opportune time to review your HR Policies to prevent possible fines and legal penalties for non-compliance. At present, the administrative penalty system is being created by the Government of Alberta that will empower Employment Standards Officers with more authority to enforce these new changes.

For the sake of safeguarding your business, it is highly recommended that you take the appropriate steps to prepare yourself for these legal changes.

Here to Help

For assistance with HR Policy & Procedure Reviews, we can be reached for a free confidential consultation at +1-403-470-5350 or [email protected] For further details on additional HR service offerings, please visit our website at or follow along for more informative tips by joining us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

We also run a complementary LinkedIn and Facebook group called “Insights by HonivaHR” where you can access free information on how to become an effective and legally compliant employer. Or you can sign-up for our quarterly newsletter to have help sent straight to your inbox from our company homepage.

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