Alberta Employment Standards Upgrade
Province stepping up employment standards enforcement
More officers to be hired; new tool kit helps employers follow Code
Edmonton… Alberta is ramping up efforts to improve fairness in the workplace with a combination of better enforcement and education. To respond to more complaints and to expedite investigations, six new Employment Standards officers are being hired and the use of third-party auditors will increase. To ensure that employers have better information about workplace rights and responsibilities, new training materials are being launched.
The actions are part of the Alberta government’s efforts to improve compliance with employment standards. A new 24/7 online complaint system was introduced in December 2010, and it has resulted in an increase in the number of complaints filed by workers against their employers.
Approximately one-third of complaints are resolved through an early resolution process. More complex files require additional time for investigations and can extend into several months. The Alberta government recently introduced a more transparent complaint process and more stringent audit procedures for cases where employers are suspected of violating the Employment Standards Code or Regulation. When necessary, external auditors will be brought in to review an employer’s records. The cost for these audits will be borne by the employers themselves.
“Fairness in the workplace is important to Albertans, so just as we did with occupational health and safety, we’re ramping up our enforcement of employment standards in Alberta and improving education at the same time,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Employment and Immigration.
A new Employment Standards Tool Kit for Employers has also been created to improve awareness of standards and to give employers a clear picture of their rights and responsibilities.
“Most employers treat employees fairly, but we still receive complaints about maternity leave, unpaid overtime or vacation pay, insufficient termination notice, improper jobs for young workers and other violations. Our new tool kit focuses directly on these problem areas. We’re holding employers accountable and I’m putting them on notice – we’ll be doing more than ever before to ensure fairness in the workplace,” Lukaszuk added.
For more information on employment standards, visit http://employment.alberta.ca/es