Albertans are among the most productive workers in Alberta, and work some of the longest hours in the country. Yet despite this hard work and long hours, Alberta hadn’t seen significant changes to its labour legislation in 30 years.
That’s why I am proud that Bill 17: the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act is ensuring Alberta has modern and fair labour laws that protect the rights of Albertans. Work is where we spend half (and often more) of our waking hours, so it’s vital that the standards for work meet both the needs of Albertans as well as those of workplaces.
Bill 17 includes a number of important changes. Most importantly, the bill would allow Alberta workers up to five days of job protection a year for personal sickness or short-term care of an immediate family member. It would also allow for 16 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for long-term illness or injury. I believe that no one should have to lose their job because they get sick, or because they need to care for their loved ones who’ve fallen ill.
Additional changes ensure our laws meet the same standards in place in other provinces and at the federal level, such as maternity leave, parental leave, compassionate care leave and bereavement leave. Updates to overtime, vacation pay and termination notice standards are included, as well as a simplification of union certification and decertification processes.
The proposed Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code changes are the result of previous government reviews, as well as broad consultation with Albertans, employers, business organizations, labour organizations, municipalities, academics and advocacy groups. More than 7,000 submissions were received.
If passed, Bill 17 is expected to come into effect January 1, 2018.
As always, our office is happy to hear from you, and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-216-5430. I’ll be available for the next Coffee with Craig at the Velvet Café (502 25 Ave NW) on August 12th from 10am-12pm.