Employment Laws You're Probably Breaking
Are You Familiar with Alberta Employment Standards?
As a dental practice owner in Alberta, you have a lot on your plate. Ensuring the smooth operation of your practice, providing quality care to your patients, and managing your team are just a few of the job's responsibilities. However, amidst the hustle and bustle of running a dental practice, it's essential to remember that you are also an employer, and that means you must adhere to Alberta's Employment Standards.
The Unseen Pitfalls
Are Alberta's Employment Standards really something dental practice owners need to worry about? The answer is a resounding yes! You must comply with Employment Standards to avoid the wrong side of the law. It can lead to disgruntled employees and potential legal trouble.
Interestingly, the dental industry has been notorious for falling short in several key labour law areas. Let's shine a light on a few of these crucial aspects:
1. Minimum Pay for Short Shifts
Alberta Employment Standards mandate that employees who work less than their regular shift duration should be paid at least three hours of work. If you send an employee home after just an hour of work on a slow day, you are legally obligated to compensate them for three hours. It's a matter of fairness and respect for your employees' time. https://www.alberta.ca/hours-work-rest#short-periods
2. Breaks Are Not Optional
For shifts lasting more than five hours but less than ten hours, employees are entitled to at last one 30-minute break. If a shift exceeds ten hours, employees must have at least two 30-minute breaks. This rule ensures that employees have adequate rest during their workday. https://www.alberta.ca/hours-work-rest#breaks
3. Scheduled Breaks Matter
One critical area where the dental industry often needs to improve is scheduling breaks for team members. It's not uncommon for dental assistants, hygienists or administrators to rush through their breaks, hastily trying to eat in between patient appointments. This practice not only affects their well-being but can also compromise patient care. As an employer, it's your responsibility to create an environment where your team can take their scheduled breaks without the stress of rushing back to their duties.
4. Paid Breaks for Required Presence
If you require your assistant, for example, to remain on-site during their break, you are obligated to pay them for that time. This ensures employees are fairly compensated for their time at your practice, even during breaks.
5. Compensation for Mandatory Team Meetings
Suppose you hold a team meeting or training session relevant to an employee's role. In that case, you must compensate them for a minimum of three hours if the meeting is shorter. You cannot instruct them not to attend because it's not their regular workday to avoid paying for the required hours. Alberta Employment Standards prioritize fair compensation for employees' time. https://www.alberta.ca/hours-work-rest#jumplinks-5
It's crucial to emphasize that you cannot pick and choose which labour laws to follow based on convenience. Understanding and adhering to Alberta Employment Standards is a legal and ethical responsibility. Like any other, the dental industry must prioritize fair treatment of employees, including minimum pay for short shifts, scheduled breaks, and proper compensation for required attendance at meetings.
Embracing all Employment Standards ensures compliance and fosters a well-rested, fairly compensated, and respected team. Such a team is more likely to provide the high-quality care your dental practice strives for, benefiting your employees and patients. It's a holistic approach that every dental practice owner should adopt for long-term success and harmony in the workplace.
If you have questions or concerns about Alberta Employment Standards or need legal advice, consider reaching out to Alberta Employment Standards directly or consulting with an employment lawyer in Alberta.