Summer jobs for teens in Alberta: know your rights
If you are a teenager in Alberta, most likely school is coming to an end soon and you are starting to think about a summer job to make some extra cash and fill in your time. But as you do so, be sure you know your rights as an employee in Alberta. Know what companies can and can’t ask you to do and pay for as a new employee.
The Alberta Federation of Labour has provided us with a great article for Albertan Teens on the rights of a worker in the province of Alberta. Be sure to know your rights when you sign on the dotted line accepting a new job this summer.
Teenage Summer Jobs: What You Need To Know
Summer jobs can be rewarding – not just because of the paycheque, but also because of the job skills you pick up along the way.
But before you start your new job, you should be aware of your rights as a worker to make sure that you are treated fairly and equitably.
Before you even begin your job, you may be asked for information that you do not feel comfortable sharing as part of the application process – things like your race, gender, orientation or religion. You don’t have to – and shouldn’t – answer those kinds of questions.
Sometimes, you’ll be asked to attend training shifts before you become a regular employee, and most of the time, you’ll get paid for those training shifts – but not all the time. The only training your boss is required to pay you for is hands-on training in the regular workplace.
How Early Do I Need To Arrive For Work?
If your boss tells you that you have to be at work 15 minutes before the start of your shift, don’t believe him. Any time you are required to be at work, the employer has to pay you – so if they need to at work 15 minutes earlier, they need to start paying you 15 minutes earlier.
Do I Have To Pay For My Uniform?
Your boss might ask you to pay for the cost of your uniform. Unfortunately, it’s legal to do so in Alberta, but your boss needs to get your permission in writing to do so. Also, your employer can’t deduct wages for the cost of, laundering or repairing uniforms if it means your salary will drop below minimum wage.
What Is Minimum Wage In Alberta?
Speaking of minimum wage, you cannot be paid less than $9.95 an hour in this province. It’s the lowest minimum wage in Canada, but it does increase every September. There is a loophole for employers to pay $9.05 an hour, if they’re serving alcohol, and if they receive tips as part of their daily work – but this will only apply to you if you’re over the age of 18. Either way, keep an eye on your pay stubs to make sure that your boss isn’t making illegal deductions.
Can I Say No To Something I feel Is Unsafe?
Safety is an important workplace concern. If your boss asks you to do something that you don’t think is safe, you have the right to say ‘no.’ Workers in Alberta can refuse work which they believe puts them in imminent danger, or puts another worker at the workplace in imminent danger.
If you refuse unsafe work, you cannot be fired or disciplined as a result – so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Workers who report unsafe works are still entitled to receive pay, but they may be assigned to do other work while the problem is being corrected.
Your safety and health is important, never do anything that you feel puts your safety and health in jeopardy.
How Many Hours Can An Employee Make Me Work?
One of the most common complaints that younger employees have is around hours of work. If you work more than five hours, you have the right to half an hour paid break time. It can be paid or unpaid, and can be broken up into 10 minute blocks, 15 minute blocks, or taken all together. It’s up to the employer.
If you end up working more than eight hours in a shift, make sure that your employer pays you for the overtime. You are entitled to overtime pay if you work more than eight hours in a day or more than 44 hours in a week. Overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for the overtime.
As an employee, your work schedule will be determined by your employer, but you do have the right to expect some stability in that schedule. If your schedule changes, you should be notified by your employer at least 24 hours before you have to.
Whether this summer is your first time entering the labour pool, or you’ve had many summer jobs over the last few years, remember that a safe, stable, fair employment situation is a right in Alberta. If something seems wrong to you, take the time to ask someone.
You have the right to a workplace that is free of discrimination, free of harassment and free of excessive risks. Luckily, many workplaces in Alberta are pretty good places to learn, to grow and to spend a summer earning a paycheque.
If you live outside of Alberta and are curious about what your rights are as an employee in your province, visit Service Canada for more information.
Source: Article provided by Alberta Federation of Labour