Employers may require or allow workers to work modified hours through a funding agreement. The employer and employees can renegotiate or terminate the person or group (if the majority approves) HWAA at any time. Any party to HWAA may terminate the contract with a 30-day period. The termination will take effect at the end of the 30-day period, which in some cases may be longer than 30 days. However, only one staff member cannot leave a HWAA group. The calculation of flexible time depends on the average overtime. The Director of Employment Standards may, at any time, terminate a funding agreement taking into account all factors deemed relevant by the Director. As long as the average weekly working time of the employee does not exceed 40 during the agreed average cycle and the employee never works more than 12 hours per day, there is no obligation to pay overtime. My example of a 4-hour shift would therefore not result in overtime pay obligations. A HWAA group may be concluded at the request of a group of employees or an assistant director, with the approval of the agreement, with the support of the majority of the staff concerned.
If there is a group agreement, all new employees recruited in the workplace are considered to be willing to give their consent and are bound by the agreement. The flexible average contract, which is not part of a collective agreement, is valid: overtime must be paid in daily overtime or average overtime. As of January 1, 2019, non-unionized employers in Alberta will no longer be able to have compressed weekly schedules prescribed by the employer. Unionized employers will also soon have to deal with this change if they have not already done so. Instead, recent changes to the Alberta Employment Standards Code allow employers to enter into funding agreements with their employees. This article highlights the need for non-union employers in Alberta who still have compressed work schedules to eliminate them before the new year and to see if the average agreements for their employment can be correct. The compressed work week (CWW) has been used by many Alberta employers to reduce overtime liability when longer workdays are required for the company. Under a CWW, workers could work fewer working days during the work week, but more than eight hours a day without overtime. The CWWs also allowed employers to work on average for several weeks, so that weekly overtime would not be worked unless the weekly average was more than 44 hours. Employers had to follow certain rules in order for their CWWs to be valid. According to the latest amendments to the Labour Standards Code (the “code”), CWW agreements concluded before January 1, 2018 apply to non-unionized jobs until January 1, 2019.
For a unionized employment with a CWW under the collective agreement, the CWW remains valid until the parties conclude their next collective agreement after January 1, 2018. Companies are also free to terminate their CWWs earlier, subject to the terms of a possible collective agreement. Given that CWWs will soon be in the past, many employers will look at average agreements to replace them. The main difference with the CWW is that means agreements, as the name suggests, require employee agreement.