Further Changes to the Alberta Employment Standards Code due to COVID-19

07 April 2020

Further to our alert of March 16, 2020 about the new job protected leave, the Government of Alberta has announced further changes to the Alberta Employment Standards Code due to COVID-19.



Announced on April 6, 2020 and effective immediately, the temporary changes are as follows:

  • Employees who need to care for children or who are taking care of an individual who is isolated due to COVID-19, have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The 90-day employment requirement is waived and the leave length is flexible.
  • The maximum time for a temporary layoff has been increased from 60 days to 120 days. This change is retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.
  • The 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes is removed. The two weeks’ notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement is also removed.
  • The requirement to provide the group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated is removed.
  • The process for approvals related to modifying employment standards will be streamlined.

The Government of Alberta is also streamlining the process for approvals relating to revising employment standards. These changes were introduced by the Government of Alberta to better equip employers to have the flexibility to take immediate action in response to public health orders, and allow employees to access federal programs. The changes will remain in place as long as deemed necessary by the Government of Alberta in response to the province’s public health emergency.

The situation remains fluid and we continue to monitor developments closely. To learn more about workplace policies on communicable illnesses and handling COVID-19 in your workplace, please contact a member of Gowling WLG's Employment, Labour & Equalities Group.


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