Our Calgary Employment Lawyers can help you!
Our Calgary Employment lawyers and Labor lawyers can guide you if your career is being jeopardized and you don’t know what your next step is.
We can help you with any legal matter related to employment, labor laws, and the employment standard code.
Workplace harassment, not receiving severance, wrongful dismissal or anything that breaches employment law may cause you serious financial consequences for you in the future.
At Shim Law, we will have all your answers to your employment/labor needs.
What do our Employment Lawyers do?
Approximately 90% of workers are enforced by employee rights laws which defines and guarantees that each employee gets a minimum standard of hours, sick days and severance packages.
Our Calgary employment lawyers cover every legal aspect of labor and employee rights. Please see below for a more detailed look at our services.
A Detailed Look at Our Employment Law Services
These include, but are not limited to:
- Employment Contracts
- Employee Unions
- Employee Workplace Discrimination
- Immigration Employees
- Severance Pay
- Workers on Contact
- Workplace Health and Safety
- Wrongful Dismissal or Termination and many more
If you have experienced any of the above or just feel like your employee rights are being jeopardized please contact one of our Calgary Employment Lawyers immediately before approaching your situation.
COVID-19 and Layoffs
It has been a few weeks since the Province of Alberta began to have an increased number of infected people with COVID-19 and this resulted in the state of emergency. More people are concerned about being laid off and not sure about the security of their respective jobs during this time. Various industries such as airline, retail and restaurant industries have already started to lay their respective employees off. On the other hands, many businesses have dropped in revenues and started to close down. They have no customers and cannot afford to pay their employees.
What should we do or can we do from the employment standpoint? We are getting calls and emails from various employers and employees as to how to handle the situation. They are wondering as to what they need to do legally in order to avoid any future legal disputes. Indeed, this is an unprecedented time for both the employers and employees.
There are several ways in which you can handle this situation. Such options include, but are not limited to, temporarily laying off, entering into an agreement with employees about reduced hours or pays, applying for a work-sharing program with the Government, looking for any government funding or financial programs, terminating the employment, negotiating the severance package, offering early retirement and so on.
If you are an employee and your employer lays you off because of a shortage of work, you can apply for EI and its operating the same as it usually does. You need to have enough hours of insurable earnings to qualify. It will pay you 55% of your insurable income to a maximum of $573 a week.
If you’re an employer and you can’t make payroll and the Work Sharing Program doesn’t work for you (more on that below), the only realistic way to deal with it is to lay off employees so that they can go on EI.
There is a one-week waiting period, so if you have to lay workers off you should try to give some pay in lieu of notice to bridge that gap.
Note that this doesn’t apply to people who can’t work because they’re sick or taking care of a relative or kids related to COVID-19. Under new legislation just passed, an employer *cannot* lay you off for this reason. They have to give you leave, and you can apply for the Emergency Care Benefit or EI Sickness Benefits (see below).
Emergency Care Benefit/EI Sickness Benefits
If you can’t work because you are: (a) sick with COVID; (b) quarantined due to COVID; (c) taking care of a sick family member, or (d) have to stay home to take care of kids, you can access this benefit *even if you are self-employed*. This benefit will be available in early April and you will basically need to check off a checkbox every two weeks that you still need it. It will pay up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks.
Alternatively, if you’re sick/quarantined with COVID and have enough insurable earnings, you can access EI Sickness Benefits and the one-week waiting period is waived. Like normal EI, this pays 55% of earnings up to $573 a week.
Emergency Support Benefit
This is confusingly named very similarly to the Emergency Care Benefit, but it’s different. The ESB is going to provide financial support to (a) laid-off workers who don’t have enough hours for EI, and (b) self-employed workers who don’t have enough income to work. Basically, anyone not covered by EI. Details on this benefit aren’t out yet, but it’s going to be administered through the CRA and will likely have a simple application process. The amount and duration of benefits haven’t yet been made public.
Small Business Wage Subsidy
This is to help those of us who might have a bit of difficulty making payroll but haven’t had such a severe drop in work that we need to look at Work Share or layoffs. The government is going to subsidize 10% of your payroll, to a maximum $1357 per employee. You can access this benefit *immediately* by reducing your tax withholding for your employees.
EI Work Share
If you are an employer of 2 or more employees doing the same job (e.g. two customer-service representatives) but don’t have enough work to keep them on payroll, rather than laying one of them off, you can apply to the EI Work Share program. The employees have to agree. Basically, you reduce their collective workload by up to 60% and EI benefits will cover for the reduced hours. The main problem is you need 2 employees with the same job description, the application process is pretty onerous, and it can take up to 30 days to get approval. But if you work at a company with 10+ employees, this might be a good option to consider.
Business Credit Availability Program
The government is working with lenders to increase the amount of credit available to creditworthy businesses. Talk to your banker to see what lending options might be available.
Taxes are not due until August 31, 2020. You can still file the return right away to get benefits, but you don’t have to pay anything (this includes any instalment payments that you would otherwise owe). Take advantage of this; it’s basically an interest-free loan.
For any of us who currently receive the GST Credit and/or the Canada Child Benefit Credit, those are being enhanced. If you are eligible for these benefits, make sure to file your tax return on time so you can get them.
Student Loan Freeze
The federal government has frozen student loans and there is no interest accruing for the next 6 months. We believe this is done automatically; there’s no application process you can just stop paying your student loans for the next 6 months with no consequences. This also operates like an interest-free loan.
Common Employment and Law Questions
Confused about your current situation?
Below is a compiled list of some free resources about employee rights:
- What are your rights as a Canadian Employee?
- How much EI can you receive?
- More Info on Severance Pay
- What is considered wrongful dismissal?
Calgary Employment Law FAQ
What is the minimum wage in Calgary?
Currently as of 2023, the minimum wage in Alberta, including Calgary, is $15.00 per hour. However, it’s important to note that minimum wage rates can change over time, and it’s advisable to check with the Alberta government or a legal authority for the most current rates.
Can an employer terminate an employee without cause in Calgary?
Yes, employers in Calgary can terminate employees without cause, as Alberta follows the principle of employment-at-will. However, when an employer terminates an employee without cause, they are generally required to provide reasonable notice of termination or compensation in lieu of notice. The length of notice or amount of compensation depends on various factors, including the employee’s length of service and the terms of their employment contract.
What is “just cause” for termination, and when can an employer terminate for cause?
“Just cause” refers to situations where an employer can terminate an employee without providing notice or compensation. In Alberta, just cause typically involves serious misconduct or breaches of employment terms by the employee. Examples may include theft, dishonesty, insubordination, workplace violence, or breaches of confidentiality. Employers must carefully document such incidents and ensure that the behavior meets the threshold for just cause termination.
Are employees entitled to overtime pay in Calgary?
Yes, employees in Calgary are generally entitled to overtime pay as per Alberta’s employment standards. Overtime pay is typically calculated at a rate of 1.5 times the regular hourly wage for hours worked beyond 44 hours in a workweek. There are exceptions and variations in overtime rules depending on the specific industry and occupation, so it’s crucial for both employers and employees to be aware of these regulations.
What are the requirements for employment contracts in Calgary?
Employment contracts in Calgary should be clear, comprehensive, and outline the terms and conditions of employment. They should include details about wages, benefits, working hours, job responsibilities, and any special agreements or clauses, such as non-compete or confidentiality clauses. Both parties, the employer and the employee, should have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations to avoid misunderstandings or disputes later on.
Can an employer change the terms of employment after hiring in Calgary?
In Calgary, employers cannot unilaterally change the terms of employment without the employee’s consent unless the employment contract allows for such changes. Any changes to employment terms should typically be made through mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. If there is no agreement, attempting to impose unilateral changes may lead to a breach of the employment contract.
What is workplace harassment, and how is it addressed in Calgary?
Workplace harassment refers to unwanted behaviors or actions that create a hostile or intimidating work environment. In Calgary, and throughout Alberta, employers are legally required to have policies and procedures in place to prevent and address workplace harassment. Employees who experience harassment have the right to report their concerns to their employer or relevant authorities. Employers are obligated to investigate complaints promptly and take appropriate action to address harassment issues.
Are there laws protecting employees from discrimination in Calgary?
Yes, there are laws in Calgary and Alberta that protect employees from discrimination based on various characteristics, including race, gender, age, religion, disability, and more. Employers are prohibited from discriminatory practices in hiring, promotion, termination, or any other employment-related decisions. Employees who believe they have been discriminated against can file complaints with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, which investigates such cases.
Can employees in Calgary take legal action against their employer for wrongful termination or other employment-related issues?
Yes, employees in Calgary have legal avenues to take action against their employer for wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related issues. They can file complaints with government agencies, such as the Alberta Employment Standards Branch or the Alberta Human Rights Commission, or seek legal remedies through the courts. Consulting with an employment lawyer is often advisable in such cases to understand their rights and options and to navigate the complex legal processes involved.