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On April 6, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced the
following temporary changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (Code) to help
employers navigate the unprecedented circumstances associated with
the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The maximum period for temporary layoffs has been increased
from 60 days to 120 days, subject to certain limited circumstances
which may provide for a further extension. Notably, this change has
been made retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19
that occurred on or after March 17, 2020.
- Employers are no longer required to provide group termination
notice to affected employees and unions when terminating the
employment of 50 or more employees. However, employers must still
give group termination notice to the Minister of Labour and
Immigration as soon as is practicable. Individuals are still
entitled to statutory notice of termination, or pay in lieu
thereof, under the Code.
- Employers are no longer required to provide employees with
24-hours’ written notice of shift changes. Similarly, the
requirement for employers to provide employees with two weeks’
notice of changes to work schedules under averaging agreements has
- Employees who are caring for ill or self-isolated family
members due to COVID-19, or for children who have been affected by
the closure of schools and daycares, now have access to unpaid
job-protected leave. The length of the unpaid leave is flexible and
there is no requirement to have been employed by the same employer
for 90 days to qualify.
- The process to obtain approvals for modifications to employment
standards under the Code has been changed to permit employers and
employees to respond quicker to changing conditions in the wake of
The provincial government has announced that these temporary
changes to the Code are effective as of April 6, 2020. They will
remain in place as long as the provincial government determines
they are needed and the public health emergency order remains in
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