Bill 17: The Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act

Significant updates to Alberta’s workplace legislation came into effect last year. Bill 17, The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, received Royal Assent on June 7, 2017 and made changes to the Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code. As of January 1, 2018, most of these amendments are in effect.

Employment Standards Code changes

The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act amends the province’s labour laws to ensure that workplaces are fair, modern and family-friendly. There are several changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code that will impact most employers by adjusting the minimum standards of employment required by law. Key changes are outlined below.

Leave Eligibility and Entitlement

Employees have the right to unpaid job-protected leaves of absence after 90 days of employment. Bill 17 also expands or adds the following types of leaves:

  • Compassionate Care Leave
  • Maternity Leave and Parental Leave
  • Personal and Family Responsibility Leave
  • Long-Term Illness and Injury Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Domestic Violence Leave
  • Citizenship Ceremony Leave
  • Critical Illness of an Adult Family Member
  • Critical Illness of a Child
  • Death or Disappearance of a Child

Employee Rights

Bill 17 ensures that employers are providing additional rights to employees. The Act establishes new rules for:

  • Rest periods
  • Compressed work weeks
  • Wage deductions
  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime entitlement and pay
  • General holiday entitlement and general holiday pay
  • Vacation entitlement and vacation pay
  • Employee dismissals
  • Temporary layoffs
  • Youth employment

Employment Standards Enforcement

To enforce The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, there is a new administrative penalty system in place. This system also grants Employment Standards Officers the authority to direct employers to conduct self-audits in a form that the Ministry of Labour prescribes. Businesses found in violation of the Code are subject to increased administrative penalties that may lead to possible prosecution.

Ask Employer Line for help ensuring your business is up to Code.


Unlimited Advice on The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act:

Are you experiencing difficulties transitioning your small business to Alberta’s new labour laws under The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act? Call Employer Line at: 1 (888) 219-8767. and speak with our HR experts today.