HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 15

Most employers are aware that The Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act
("Bill 17") received royal assent on June 7, 2017, and the Alberta Government's
overhaul of the Employment Standards Code1 is inevitable. Employers must
now assess how the amendments will influence the day-to-day management of
their business.
The purpose of this article is to provide employers, all of whom are affected by
Bill 17, with some insight on how to effectively and efficiently revise internal policies so as to remain compliant with the new minimum standards. Two practical
examples of policies that may need to be revised in light of the Bill 17 amendments
have been included to demonstrate the issues that could arise during the process
of creating or revising employment policies.

Bill 17 Coming into Force
The presence or absence of an organization's specific employment circumstances
will affect when Bill 17 comes into force. As it relates to employment standards, the
majority of Bill 17 will come into effect as of January 1, 2018 (with the exception of
the amendments concerning youth employment which are already in effect). In so
far as they related to collective agreements, the amendments to the Code will not
apply until the earlier of (1) the date a new collective agreement is entered into, or
(2) January 1, 2019. Notably, existing permits issued under the Code will remain
in effect until (1) their stated expiry date, or (2) until January 1, 2019, whichever is
earlier. Permits may have been obtained, for example, to extend days or hours
of work, or to extend the overtime banking period.

Bill 17 is Mandatory
The Code sets out minimum standards that govern the basic terms and conditions
of employment, including for example, minimum wage levels, vacation and holiday pay, hours of work and overtime, and leaves of absence. Bill 17 amends such
minimum standards. Employees are entitled to, at the very least, the terms and
conditions of employment specified under the Code; and employers are not permitted to contract out of these minimum standards unless they are offering a greater
benefit. In other words, employers must at least adhere to the new standards.
Importantly, some changes to policy may be so fundamental that they could
attract claims of constructive dismissal. In this case, however, since Bill 17 stipulates mandatory standards the risk to employers are not claims for constructive
dismissal; but rather, failure to abide by the new minimum standards could attract
complaints to Employment Standards. While many employers already provide
for working conditions that exceed the Bill 17 minimum legislative standards,
the new administrative penalty will introduce costs and administrative burdens
for employers to contend with, and present a real risk to employers found not
complying with the legislation.
Overall, employers in non-unionized environments should ensure that any existing
policies are in compliance with the amendments. Similarly, employers in unionized
environments may experience changes to their existing practices depending on
the standards outlined in their collective agreements.

Evaluating and Revising Your Policies
Virtually all employers have written employment policies that address some, if
not all, the standards particularized in the Code. In light of Bill 17, each employer
must develop a strategy to determine which of its policies need to be revised.
A complete strategy to evaluate and revise existing policies should include the
following steps:
1. Familiarize yourself with Bill 17 and determine when certain amendments
become applicable to your organization;
HUMAN CAPITAL | WINTER 2017 | 15



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017

Leadership Matters
Prepare for Policy Revision
What You Need to Know About Bill 17 and Your Benefit Plans
Federally Regulated Employers Be Cautious – Important Change in Law Issued by Supreme Court of Canada
What Evidence is Required?
Policy Corner
Index of Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - Intro
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - bellyband1
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - bellyband2
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - cover1
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - cover2
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 3
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 4
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 5
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - Leadership Matters
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 7
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 8
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 9
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 10
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 11
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 12
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 13
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - Prepare for Policy Revision
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 15
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 16
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 17
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - What You Need to Know About Bill 17 and Your Benefit Plans
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 19
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - Federally Regulated Employers Be Cautious – Important Change in Law Issued by Supreme Court of Canada
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 21
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - What Evidence is Required?
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 23
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - Policy Corner
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - 25
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - Index of Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - cover3
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - cover4
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - outsert1
HUMAN Capital - Winter 2017 - outsert2
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