COVID-19 – Alberta Employment Standards Code UPDATE
The Alberta Government has announced changes to the Employment Standards Code.
Full details of the changes will be confirmed by Government Officials shortly. We are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation regarding its impact to the Alberta workplace.
We are aware of misinformation circulating in many online forums and encourage the public to seek guidance from experienced legal counsel. We encourage all employees to check-in with us often and to follow us on social media for real-time updates as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: No employer “paid leave” for Alberta employees. The Alberta Government has reversed its commitment announced on Friday, March 13 to amend the Employment Standards Code (Alberta), which would have required employers to provide employees with 14 days of PAID leave in connection with COVID-19 self-isolation.
The Employment Standards (COVID-19 Leave) Regulation passed on March 17 and announced today entitles employees who are forced to undergo “quarantine” to 14 consecutive days of UNPAID leave. It also does not cover those employees required to care for a loved one in self-isolation, as previously promised. The Alberta Government concurrently announced that employees forced to undergo “quarantine” can apply online for a one-time $572 payment to bridge the gap until federal funds kick in under either EI Sickness Benefits or the newly announced Emergency Care Benefit, which will provide employees with up to $900 biweekly for a maximum of 15 weeks while under “quarantine” or otherwise caring for a loved one in self-isolation.
The Alberta Government’s change in position since Friday is significant. Importantly, the changes announced today do nothing to address parents forced to care for their children, now out of school and daycare. Parents will still benefit from $900 biweekly under the Federal Emergency Care Benefit, but the Alberta Government has so far not extended the Personal and Family Responsibility Leave from the current 5 days. Much remains uncertain, and we are committed to helping Alberta employees.
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The Federal Government has announced details regarding Phase One of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Employees are the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
The Emergency Care Benefit will provide up to $900 biweekly for a maximum of 15 weeks to employees required to self-isolate, care for loved ones required to self-isolate or those required to care for children no longer in school or daycare facilities. Crucially, this benefit will apply to those otherwise ineligible for EI sickness benefits, including self-employed workers, contractors and part-time/casual employees.
The Emergency Support Benefit will provide up to 14 weeks of income support for workers now out of work who are otherwise ineligible for Regular EI Benefits, at a comparable benefit rate. This will apply to the self-employed, contractors and part-time/casual employees otherwise ineligible for Regular EI Benefits.
What remains uncertain at this point is how Phase One of the Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan will intersect with the Alberta Government’s recent legislative changes to the Employment Standards Code giving employees up to 14 days of paid leave. We will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation closely and provide real-time updates to Alberta employees as more information becomes available. Your Employment Lawyers. #covid_19 #coronavirus #alberta
‼️COVID-19 UPDATE‼️ The Alberta Government has just announced the immediate cancellation of all K-12 public schools, post-secondary classes and licenced child care programs, province-wide.
These new measures will obviously affect many Alberta-based employees, who now have to provide care for their children. The Employment Standards Code currently provides employees with up to 5 days of unpaid Family Responsibility Leave, if they had been employed for 90 days or more. We anticipate that the Alberta Government will expand the 5 day unpaid entitlement and hopefully waive the 90 day employment requirement in the near future. We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to provide employees with real-time updates as information becomes available. In the immediate term, advise your employer of your need to provide care to your children and do not fear retaliation or termination. Your employment is protected. Any such action would likely also violate applicable human rights legislation.
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Know your rights? As we come together to fight COVID-19, workplace issues will arise
Public Health Officials recommend that employers send employees home if they’re experiencing flu-like symptoms and have recently travelled abroad. This sounds like a good approach to stop the spread. But if your employer is sending you home without pay or alternative work arrangements and without valid reason i.e. simply because you’ve recently travelled abroad but don’t have flu-like symptoms and haven’t been in contact with someone with a diagnosed case of COVID-19, then your rights may have been violated. We’ve already seen cases like this occur and we want to know about them. We’re here for you.
UPDATE: as of late this afternoon, and thanks to some emergency amendments to the Employment Standards Code (Alberta), Alberta-based employees required to self-isolate or care for a loved one are now entitled to a minimum 14 days of protected PAID leave. No medical note is necessary, and the 90 day employment threshold has been waived. If your employer fails to comply with this statutory requirement, get in touch with us!