How long can employers wait to pay their staff?

Young man working at a coffee shop

Dear Working Wise:

My friend picked up a part-time job working at a local restaurant just to make a little extra money. He hasn’t been paid for more than a month and he didn’t receive a pay stub with his first paycheck. He thinks his employer took too much off his cheque, but he can’t confirm it without the pay stub. How long can employers wait to pay their staff and do they have to give you a pay stub? Signed Curious and Concerned

Dear Curious:

Alberta’s Employment Standards Code requires employers to pay employees at least once per month.

Wages, overtime pay and general holiday pay must be paid within 10 consecutive days after the end of each pay period.

And employers must provide employees with a statement of earnings at the end of each pay period, that includes the following:

  • regular and overtime hours of work;
  • wage rate and overtime rate;
  • earnings paid that show each component separately;
  • deductions from earnings and the reason for each deduction;
  • time off in lieu of payment of overtime;
  • statement period.

The statement of earnings, or pay stub as you referred to it, may be provided electronically to employees as long as employees have reasonable access to view and print the electronic version.

Employees may be paid in cash, by cheque or money order or by direct deposit, into an account of the employee’s choice, in any recognized financial institution.

The Code allows certain legal deductions to be made from an employee’s earnings. These include deductions for Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance as well as deductions resulting from a judgment or order of a court.

If an employer intends to reduce an employee’s wage rate, overtime rate, general holiday pay, vacation pay or termination pay, the employee must be notified before the start of the pay period in which the reduction is to take effect. However, these rates must always be at least the minimum required by the legislated standards.

Your friend should speak to his employer about getting his overdue paycheck and statement of earnings so he can review it to ensure that it is accurate.

If his employer refuses to provide either, I recommend he call the toll-free Employment Standards Contact Centre for help at 1-877-427-3731.

Once he receives his pay stub, he can check the deductions against the list of permissible deductions.

A list of permissible paycheck deductions is available on the Employment Standards website at under Payment of Earnings.

Good luck!

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.