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Restoring balance in Alberta’s workplaces

via Government of Alberta  

Restoring balance in Alberta’s workplaces

The proposed Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act will support economic recovery, restore balance in the workplace and get Albertans back to work.

If passed, this legislation could save job creators an estimated $100 million per year by reducing red tape from daily operations – helping them keep their doors open – and provide jobs for hard-working Albertans.

“Our government was elected on the promise of supporting employee choice and to bring balance back to Alberta’s labour laws. This bill will do just that and also help businesses save time and money, letting them focus on getting Albertans back to work while protecting workers.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

Bill 32 will provide employees and employers with clearer and more transparent rules promoting fairness and productivity, including more clarity about rest periods and temporary layoff notices.

“As businesses reopen, we need to support our job creators. We told Albertans we would get them back to work and make it easier to do business in Alberta. That’s exactly what we’re doing by cutting this unneeded red tape.”

Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction

 

“Alberta Construction Association applauds the Government of Alberta for introducing greater flexibility and reduced red tape in averaging agreements, hours of work, and temporary layoffs. Changes to these employment standards support seasonal, remote project-based construction jobs, while maintaining fairness in the workplace.”

Frederick Vine, chairman, Alberta Construction Association

 

“Merit Contractors Association congratulates the Government of Alberta for returning balance to employers and their employees though revisions to the Labour Relations Code and Employment Standards Act. These positive changes send a message to investors and job creators that Alberta is open for business.”

Malcolm Kirkland, president and chief executive officer, Merit Contractors Association

 

“The proposed changes in the provisions governing employees in the construction industry are a major step in the right direction for working Albertans. These changes represent good public policy that promotes fair and healthy competition among unions while enhancing worker choice and workplace democracy.”

Dennis Perrin, provincial director, Christian Labour Association of Canada

To help inform these proposed changes, 5,421 responses were received during an online public survey conducted in November 2019.

Restoring balance and economic stability

  • Clarifying that employees continue to accumulate vacation time while on a job-protected leave.
  • Clarifying rules for rest periods and flexibility in scheduling breaks.
  • Restoring balance to the relationship between employers and employees with updated rules for union certification and revocation, such as removing strict timelines and remedial certification provisions.
  • Increasing employee choice by ensuring union members are not forced to fund political activities and causes without explicit opt-in approval.
  • Balancing employee rights to fair collective bargaining, striking and picketing with the need to protect businesses and our economy from harm, and ensuring Albertans continue to receive services they rely on.
  • Preventing unions from disciplining members if they take a significantly different job with a different employer.
  • Updating rules for collective agreements will allow an existing collective agreement to remain in place if employees in the construction industry choose a new union before it expires.
  • Changes to collective agreements and first contract arbitration will reduce red tape, encourage stability and help employers and employees work together to reach agreements.
  • Increasing transparency and democracy in the workplace by making sure employees know how unions are spending their money.
  • Changing rules for construction industry to ensure workforce stability and to attract major projects and investment.

Keeping businesses open and Albertans employed

  • Updating rules for temporary layoff notices to help employees stay attached to their jobs longer.
  • Adding flexibility to rules for hours of work averaging arrangements to make it easier for employers to set up arrangements, create schedules, and calculate overtime.
  • Helping youth find work, and reducing red tape and administrative burdens by expanding the types of jobs 13- and 14-year-olds are allowed to do without first needing a permit.
  • Providing flexibility to the Labour Relations Board to expedite processes and efficiency during an emergency.

Saving employers time and money

  • Creating simpler and more flexible rules for general holiday pay, group terminations, payment of final earnings upon termination, payroll processes and paying administrative penalties to help employers save time and money in their daily operations.
  • Making it easier for employers to apply for variances and exemptions.
  • Allowing unions and employers to agree on standards that may work for them.
  • Enabling the Labour Relations Board to serve employers, employees and unions more efficiently by reducing administrative burdens, costs and unnecessary hearings.
Article by Lena Hogarth
July 8, 2020

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