The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on legal issues within the Province of Alberta. The purpose of this topic is to inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic discusses Alberta laws that apply to the employment of persons under the age of 18. Employment restrictions apply differently based on the age of the employee, as outlined below.
Child Employees 12 years of age and under
Persons under the age of 12 years require permission to work. An application for a permit from the Director of Employment Standards of the Government of Alberta must be made which states the need for such employment. The Director must be confident that the employment will not cause harm to the child. If a permit is issued by the Director, the Director may make restrictions they feel are necessary. Restrictions will likely include specific hours the child is allowed to work.
Adolescent Employees 13-14 years years of age
Persons 13 to 14 years of age are able to work in the following jobs without a permit:
- To make deliveries of small goods for a retail store;
- To deliver newspapers or flyers;
- To be a clerk, or messenger in an office or retail store;
- restaurant and food industry (certain positions only, visit https://www.alberta.ca/youth-employment-laws.aspx#p8013s4 for more information).
Other similar types of jobs must be approved by the Director of Employment Standards of the Government of Alberta. An employer must apply for approval by way of permit. The adolescent cannot begin working until the permit is given.
The set list of jobs and need for a permit for jobs outside of the list ensures the safety of adolescents. Adolescent jobs must not be harmful to their life, health, education or welfare. Parents or guardians of adolescents who are employed must provide written consent (permission) to the employer.
An adolescent cannot work during their normal school hours. They cannot work before 6:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. They may only work 2 hours on school days and up to 8 hours when there is no school day. For example, if your adolescent has a paper route, they cannot deliver the newspapers in the mornings before 6:00 a.m. or deliver in the evening after 9:00 p.m. If your adolescent works in a convenience store, they cannot work more than 2 hours during the week they go to school. On weekends, your adolescent may work up to 8 hours a day.
Youth Employees 15-17 years
Youth cannot work at the following places between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. under any circumstances:
- a retail store that sells food, beverages, or other merchandise;
- a retail store that sells gas, or petroleum products; or
- a motel, hotel or inn.
Youth can work at the above listed places from 9:00 p.m. to midnight if they work with or are in the continuous presence of an individual 18 years of age or older:
Youth can work at any place (other than those mentioned in the list above) between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. if:
- they have the written permission from a parent or guardian to work those hours; and
- the young person is in the continuous presence of an individual 18 years of age or older.
Currently, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour, for all ages.
If you are a student under the age of 18 years, must be paid for a minimum of 3 hours at minimum wage ($15.00 per hour). However, you must be available to work for the full 3 hours. If you are not receiving the minimum wage and/or number of hours, call the Employment Standards at 1-877-427-3731.
If you are a young person between 15 years of age up to 18 years of age, and enrolled in a work experience program as part of your education, your wage is to be paid according to the authorized contract. That contract would set your wage, which may be less than the minimum wage.
Persons under the age of 18 who are employed in an agricultural or ranching situation may not be entitled to the minimum wage and hours of work restrictions.
Young people are entitled to Employment Insurance in the same way as adults. However, young people rarely meet the requirements to benefit from the insurance. If you quit work without just cause, or are fired for misconduct, you cannot collect the insurance. For more information regarding Employment Insurance contact Service Canada at 1-800-622-6232.
Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.