If you wonder what Alberta’s minimum wage is, you have come to the right place.
Alberta has a general minimum wage, a liquor server minimum wage and a student minimum wage.
The province sets the minimum wage, and it varies based on age and situation. This is the lowest amount paid to employees in Alberta, Canada.
Under Alberta employment law, employees are entitled to receive at least minimum wage regardless of how they are paid (hourly, piece rate, salary etc.).
The hourly minimum wage applies to most employees in Alberta, except for students under 18 who are working less than 28 hours a week or employees who receive tips.
This article covers the essentials of minimum wage in Alberta. Read on to learn more.
What is a Minimum Wage?
Minimum wage is the minimum amount of money per hour that an employer can legally pay an employee.
The province or territory where the employee works determine their minimum wage. Most employees receive at least minimum wage.
However, some jobs pay less, such as jobs that require little skill or training (such as dishwashers and fast-food restaurant workers).
There are exceptions to the minimum wage law in every province and territory. For example, if you’re working through a student program or apprenticeship program, you might earn less than your peers who aren’t part of these programs.
Additionally, some employees might earn a lower rate because of their age. Regardless of your job description, if your employer pays less than minimum wage for whatever reason, that’s illegal.
Nevertheless, some provinces allow a lower minimum wage for liquor servers who serve alcohol in licensed premises and have completed training courses. This exemption applies to both full- and part-time employees.
The Current Minimum Wage in Alberta
From 2018 to the present, the minimum wage has remained at $15.00 per hour.
The Employment Standards Regulations stipulates the following minimum wage rates:
|Type of Employee||Minimum Wage Rates|
|Students under 18||$13/hour (restrictions apply)|
|General minimum wage||$15/hour|
|Domestic employees (living in their employer’s home)||$2,848/month|
|Salespersons (including land agents and certain professionals)||$598/week|
Alberta Student Wage Rates
With the Employment Standards Amendment Regulation, a student wage is introduced for job creation.
Beginning June 26, 2019, students under 18 are eligible for $13/hour. However, students are still entitled to more than this minimum wage, so employers can choose to pay them more.
The first 28 hours of work in a week when school is in session will be the new rate. If a student works more than 28 hours a week, the federal minimum wage is $15/hour. There are still overtime rules.
Students employed during spring break, Christmas break, or summer vacation will earn the new job creation student wage of $13/hour.
The minimum student wage rate for students employed through the Job Creation Program applies only to:
- Job creation student wages only apply to students currently enrolled in a school, not to those who have dropped out
- Students under the age of 18 who are enrolled in secondary, post-secondary, or vocational education
- If a student is currently employed and earning $15/hour or more, the employer has the option of reducing their pay to $13/hour, but not below.
Weekly Minimum Wage Rates
The weekly minimum wage for employees not covered by the National Employment Standards is $598 per week.
This weekly minimum wage rate applies to the following employees:
- Farm machinery salesperson
- Manufactured home salesperson
- Car, truck, recreational vehicle, or bus salesperson
- Direct selling salesperson
- Heavy-duty construction equipment or road construction equipment salesperson
- Engineer or other geoscientists
- Information systems professional
- Residential home salesperson
- Commission salesperson (other than a route salesperson) selling goods that will be delivered later
- Employed by builder
- Land agent
Domestic Employee Wage Rates
If you employ domestic workers who live in your homes, such as nannies, maids, or housekeepers, you only have to pay them a minimum wage of $2,848 per month.
Also, if you employ domestic workers who do not live in your home (e.g., gardeners), you must pay them the standard minimum wage of $15 per hour.
The minimum wage for live-in domestic employees who work in their employer’s home is much lower than the minimum wage for non-live-in domestic employees.
This is so because employers are also required to provide them with free meals and lodging.
A domestic employee is entitled to the following benefits:
- Earning a minimum wage
- Every week there should be at least one day of rest
- Paid vacation days and vacation time
- Dismissal notice
- Leaves with job protection
- Generally paid holidays
- For every five hours of work, there should be a 30-minute rest period
- a record of their pay period’s earnings and deductions.
The following benefits are for workers who reside at their employer’s house:
- Employers are only allowed to deduct $4.41 for a night’s accommodation and $3.35 for each meal; deductions for meals not eaten are not allowed
if an employee agrees to work only a few hours a week, the employer may adjust the minimum monthly wage to account for this arrangement
- A total minimum wage rate must be paid to employees regardless of how many hours they work
Employers who do not live in their employees’ homes are entitled to:
- In no event can the minimum wage rate be reduced by more than $3.35 for each meal consumed by employees
- All hours of work are subject to the minimum wage
Domestic employees are exempt from the following employment standards:
- Limitations on the number of hours that can be worked
- Getting paid for overtime
Minimum Wage Alberta’s Basic Rules
Employers and employees must follow the rules regarding minimum wage.
- The most essential rule is that the employer must pay at least the minimum wage.
- The current general minimum wage covers all workers except students under 18.
- Many people believe that anything they make on top of the minimum wage counts toward their minimum-wage salary. But that isn’t the case, according to Alberta Labour Standards. Neither tips nor expenses are included in minimum wages.
- There are restrictions to the new job creation student wage that went into effect on June 26, 2019.
- Employees covered by the Employment Standards Regulation or who have been granted a variance are exceptions to this rule.
- Minimum wages for some salespeople and domestics are different weekly and monthly.
- Employers’ meals and lodging are subject to deductions of $3.35 per consumed meal and $4.41 per day for lodging.
Employees are entitled to at least 3 hours of minimum wage, even if they are sent home early after working less than 3 hours, except they cannot complete the entire 3 hours.
Exceptions to Alberta’s Minimum Wage
The minimum wage in Alberta applies to most employees and employers, but there are some exceptions. The following groups of employees are exempt from the minimum wage requirements:
- Under 18-year-old students
- Students under 18 working during a school break or summer holiday can also qualify for this wage no matter how many hours they work during a week.
- An employer must pay the regular minimum wage of $15.00 per hour after 28 hours of work during the week. After 28 hours of work during the week, students must receive the regular minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.
- With the Employment Standards Amendment Regulation, students under 18 will earn $13.00 an hour as part of a job creation program.
Alberta Minimum Wage and Hours Worked
Have you ever wondered if the minimum wage in Alberta is different for people who work part-time or just during certain times of the year?
In Alberta, there are some additional rules about min wage that each employee should know based on their employment status and the number of hours they work.
The following breaks down what you need to know about the minimum wage for workers in different circumstances:
2 Hour Rule
School bus drivers, staff in-home care facilities, local sport and recreation programs employees, and 13- to 15-year-olds working on school days are covered by this rule.
Under the 2 hour rule, if an employer requires an employee to be available for less than 2 hours’ work on any given day, the employer still has to pay the employee for 2 hours’ work.
For example, if your employer tells you to come into work and be available for 1 hour but you only end up working 30 minutes that day, you are entitled to 2 hours’ worth of pay at your regular rate.
3 Hour Rule
When an employee is scheduled for three hours or more, they must be paid for at least three hours of work, whether or not they work full time.
This helps prevent an employer from scheduling an employee for less than three hours of work in a day and then refusing to pay them.
Alberta employers must pay employees at least the legislated minimum wage or a fixed rate of hourly wages if they are not entitled to overtime.
The hours worked provision is meant to protect employees from working overtime without compensation.
Therefore, an employer must pay an employee overtime if they work more than 8 hours in a day or 44 hours in a week.
Employers may not ask employees to waive their right to overtime pay, but if they agree, it must be recorded as an agreement signed by both employee and employer.
However, it is essential to note that there are also exemptions from overtime requirements such as administrative, managerial and executive employees.
The specific types of employees who do not meet these exemptions will vary by industry.
Minimum Wage Pay Cheque Deductions
Employees are often surprised to see deductions on their minimum wage paycheque.
Some employers make salary advances to employees during the year and deduct repayments from subsequent paycheques.
The following deductions may be made from a minimum wage employee’s pay:
The Employment Insurance (EI) premium is a tax that all employees and self-employed people pay equally to support the EI program.
This money goes into the EI account, an insurance program for people who lose their jobs or have a significant reduction in work hours.
Employers are responsible for deducting these contributions from their employees’ paycheques and remitting them to the government.
The Canada Pension Plan is like a retirement plan. It’s money that gets deducted from your paycheque to provide you with basic services when you retire from work.
In most cases, these deductions are withheld from employees’ paycheques who earn more than one thousand dollars per month.
You will also notice deductions taken out of your paycheque for various reasons. Union dues and pension plan contributions are common. If you have insurance through an employer, you may also see a premium deduction.
Other deductions on a paycheque include contributions to pension plans and voluntary contributions to health benefits or charitable organizations.
If you are an employee, it’s essential to know the minimum wage in Alberta so that you don’t get cheated out of your hard-earned cash.
By law, employers must pay employees at least the minimum wage.
This applies whether the employee is part-time or full-time and whether they’re paid hourly, weekly or on salary.
In addition to the general minimum wage rate, specific categories of employees may be subject to different hourly rates according to an exemption from the general Alberta employment standards.
For example, liquor servers and specific categories of salespersons may be paid a lower hourly rate than other employees, depending on their duties.
FAQs on Minimum Wage in Alberta
Who has the lowest minimum wage in Canada?
As a result of a significant wage increase in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage in Canada.
Which province has the highest minimum wage?
Canadian provinces with the highest minimum wages are British Columbia.
Are lunch breaks paid in Alberta?
For shifts between 5 and 10 hours, an employee is entitled to a 30-minute break, whether paid or unpaid. Also, two 30-minute breaks are permitted for shifts of more than 10 hours. A break can be taken in two 15-minute portions if both the employer and the employee agree.
Does everyone get a raise when minimum wage goes up?
When the minimum wage is raised, employers and business owners are legally obligated to raise the hourly wage of their minimum wage employees but only those that earn the minimum wage.
Hi, I'm Adeola Adegoke. I am a licensed Insurance Broker in Manitoba, and I hold a master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences (with a major in Financial Modeling) from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Tanzania.
Also, I have a second master's degree in Statistics from the University of Regina, and I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Manitoba.
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