Termination of employment in Alberta 

As an employer in Alberta, it’s unfortunate when you are forced to terminate an employee. However, when doing so, it’s essential that you remain compliant with Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (ESC) to stay compliant and protected from Wrongful Dismissal claims (referring to terminations that are not conducted lawfully), as well as potential fines. In order to do so, it’s essential you provide the terminated employee with the entitlements they are owed in accordance with the ESC. 

Terminations For Cause & Without Cause  

In Alberta, there are two forms of terminations:   

  • Terminations for cause – Used in situations of serious workplace misconduct.  
  • Terminations without cause – Used when a reason for dismissal is not given.  

Terminations With Cause are quite rate as they require a high burden of proof.  

Examples of behaviour that may justify a termination for cause include: 

  • Theft 
  • Fraud 
  • Sexual harassment 
  • Damaging the company’s reputation 

Terminations Without Cause on the other hand are much more common. In these scenarios, an employee is entitled to Termination Notice and Termination Pay, or a combination of both.  

What is Termination Notice?   

An employee is entitled to written, reasonable notice of termination if they have been working for a company for more than 90 days. The amount of notice the employee is entitled to is based on their length of employment.   

The minimum notice required is as follows:  

Length of employment

  Notice period 

More than 90 days, but less than 2 years

1 week

2 years but less than 4 years

2 weeks

4 years but less than 6 years

4 weeks 

6 years but less than 8 years

5 weeks 

8 years but less than 10 years

6 weeks

7 years or more, but less than 8 years 

7 weeks 

10 years or more

8 weeks

What is Termination Pay?   

An employer can opt to provide Termination Pay In lieu of notice. This option is ideal for those who do not want the employee working through the notice period and would prefer to sever ties.  employer may choose this option if they do not want the employee to work through the notice period and would prefer to provide a lump sum payment.   

In Alberta, you must pay the employee within 10 consecutive days after the end of the pay period in which termination occurred, or 31 consecutive days after the last day of employment.   

Termination entitlement exceptions   

There are exceptions where a terminated employee in Alberta may not receive these entitlements.  

This occurs when:  

  • An employee is terminated for just cause.  
  • The employee has been employed for fewer than 90 days. 
  • If employment was seasonal, or for a set period of time. 
  • The employee is an independent contractor. 
  • The employment contract is impossible to perform due to unpreventable causes they cannot control. 
  • If the employee has been temporarily laid off. 
  • An employee refuses reasonable alternative work. 
  • A layoff is caused by a strike or lockout due to collective bargaining. 

Still need help?   

If you need help understanding Terminations in Alberta, Employer Line is here to help. Call today at  1-888-219-8767 and an expert will be happy to walk you through it.