Employment Standards Act - Updates

17 January 2019

The Alberta Legislature passed Bill 17 which made significant changes to the Labour Relations Code and to the Employment Standards Code (ESC). Effective January 1, 2019 the following ESC changes will apply to all employees under the NASA collective agreement.

The employment standards Code changes will supersede the NASA collective agreement in areas where the agreement falls below the minimum employment standards. In all other circumstances, the existing collective agreement will prevail until a new one is negotiated.

The table below provides a summary of the new changes and updates to existing employment standards. Please contact your HR Contact for clarification or any questions.

ESA - Topic

New Provisions/Updates


Maternity Leave

Applicable to:

  • NASA employees (Auxiliary & Regular part time salary,
  • Auxiliary & Casual hourly)
  • Excluded Support
  • Excluded Academic hourly
  • MAPS


  • Must be employed at least 90 days with same employer
  • Medical certificate confirming pregnancy and estimated delivery date required

Length of Leave:

  • Upto 16 weeks unpaid leave
  • Leave can start any time within the 13 weeks leading up to the estimated due date and no later than the date of birth.

Notice Period:

  • Employees must provide at least 6 weeks' written notice prior to taking maternity leave and 4 weeks notice to end or return to work
ESA - Maternity & Parental Leave

Parental Leave

Applicable to:

  • all NASA employees
  • Excluded Support
  • Excluded Academic hourly
  • MAPS


  • Must be employed at least 90 days with same employer
  • Parental leave can be taken by birth mother, the other parent, adoptive parent or both parents

Length of Leave:

  • Upto 62 weeks unpaid leave
  • Leave can start any time after the birth or adoption of a child, but must be completed within 78 weeks of the date the baby is born or placed with the parents.

Notice Period:

  • Employees must provide written notice to the employer as soon as possible. Employees must give at least 6 weeks' notice before starting parental leave.
ESA - Maternity & Parental Leave

Holiday Pay (Statutory holidays)

  • Changes in eligibility
  • New calculation of general Holiday pay
  • All hourly and PT salaried employees under NASA are eligible for 11 statutory holidays as listed in the NASA collective agreement


  • There is no minimum length of employment to qualify for general holiday pay.

Calculation of General Holiday Pay:

  • Varies depending on whether the employee works on the holiday or not.
  • 5% of wages, general holiday pay, and vacation pay earned in the 4 weeks immediately preceding the holiday are paid to employee when not working on the general holiday

Please refer to the Alberta ESA General Holiday Pay reference guide web link ESA - Holiday Pay

Unpaid Job Protected leaves

  • Changes to Leave eligibility
  • New types of leaves added
  • Length of leaves

Eligibility and notice:

  • Employees entitled to leave after 90 days of employment
  • Current process of requesting leave applies. Employees must provide notice as soon as reasonable and practicable in the circumstances (as per ESA min two weeks written notice prior to taking leave and one week written notice for return)

Length of leave

  • Eligible employee can take upto 27 weeks of leave

New types of Leaves:

  • Personal and Family Responsibility Leave - provides up to 5 days of job protection per year for personal sickness or short-term care of an immediate family member. Includes attending to personal emergencies and caregiving responsibilities related to education of a child.
  • Domestic Violence Leave - A new unpaid leave provides up to 10 days of job protection per year for employees addressing a situation of domestic violence.
  • Critical Illness of an Adult Family Member Provides up to 16 weeks of job protection for employees who take time off to care for an ill or injured adult family member.
  • Critical Illness of a Child - Provides up to 36 weeks of job protection for parents of critically ill or injured children.
  • Death or disappearance of a Child - Provides up to 52 weeks of job protection for employees whose child disappeared as a result of a crime, or up to 104 weeks if a child died as a result of a crime.
  • Citizenship ceremony leave - Provides up to half a day of leave to attend citizenship ceremony. Employee must provide reasonable notice
Reservist Leave

Eligibility and notice:

  • Employee is a Reservist and has been employed for 26 consecutive weeks with the same employer.
  • Reservist Leave may be requested for the following:
    • deployment to a Canadian forces operation outside Canada
    • deployment to a Canadian forces operation inside Canada that is assisting with an emergency or the aftermath of an emergency
    • annual training, included related travel time, for up to 20 days in a calendar year
    • other operations set out as such in the Employment Standards Regulation by the Minister
  • Employee must give 4 weeks' notice prior to requesting reservist leave and 4 weeks' notice for returning from leave.
  • An employer may request proof and employee must provide documentation to support leave such as letter from commanding officer that lists start & duration of leave and confirmation of purpose of leave.

Length of leave

  • Eligible employees can take up to 20 days each calendar year for annual training (leave periods do not have to be consecutive)

Reservist Leave

Averaging Agreements

  • Introduction of two types of averaging agreements
  • Employer directed compressed work week arrangements to be phased out
  • Averaging agreements expire every two years
  • Maximum averaging period is two weeks

There are 2 types of averaging agreements:

  • hours of work averaging agreement (between a group of employees or an individual) - HWAA
  • flexible averaging agreement (individual only) - FAA

Duration of averaging agreements

  • The employer will average an employee's hours of work over a period to determine overtime pay or time off with pay.
    • Up to 1-12 weeks for hours of work averaging agreements (HWAA)
    • Up to 2 weeks for flexible averaging agreements (FAA)
  • Extending the averaging period for an HWAA beyond the 12-week maximum requires a variance issued by the Director of Employment Standards.
  • Extending the averaging period for an FAA beyond the 2-week maximum will not be allowed

All averaging agreements/compressed work week arrangements are under review. Please consult your HR Partner for further information