# Compressed Work Week Arrangements | fact sheet

To be valid, a compressed work week **must be scheduled in advance** and the schedule must meet the following requirements:

(a) if the compressed work week is part of a cycle, the schedule must show all the work weeks that make up the cycle;

(b) the maximum hours of work that an employee may be scheduled to work in a work day is 12 hours;

(c) the maximum hours of work that an employee may be scheduled to work in a compressed work week is 44 hours;

(d) if the CWW is part of a cycle, clause (c) above (which requires that the maximum hours of work that an employee may be scheduled to work in a CWW is 44 hours) does not apply and the maximum average weekly hours of work that an employee may be scheduled to work in the work weeks that are part of the cycle is 44 hours.

### Examples of typical CWW arrangements

#### Single-week schedules using non-CWW

__Non-CWW Schedule:__

5 days of 8 hours, plus 4 hours on day 6 = total 44 hrs/wk__CWW Schedule:__4 days of 11 hours = total 44 hrs/wk

NOTE: Daily hours are increased from 8 to 11 and days worked reduced from 6 to 4.__Non-CWW Schedule:__5 days of 8 hours = total 40 hrs/wk__CWW Schedule:__4 days of 10 hours = total 40 hrs/wk

NOTE: Daily hours are increased from 8 to 10 and days worked reduced from 5 to 4.

#### Multi-week schedules

__Non-CWW Schedule:__6 days of 7 hours = total 42 hrs/wk__CWW Schedule:__*Week 1*– 3 days of 12 hours, then 4 days off = total 36 hrs/wk*Week 2*– 4 days of 12 hours, then 3 days off = total 48 hrs/wk**NOTE: Daily hours are increased from 7 to 12 and days worked reduced from 6 to 3 in the first week and 4 in the second.**

Average total weekly hours are 42.__Employee works 3 days of 12 hours, followed by 3 days off. The cycle repeats itself every 6 weeks__:

Average total weekly hours are 42.__Employee works 4 days of 10 hours, followed by 4 days off. The cycle repeats itself every 8 weeks__:

Average total weekly hours are 35.

### Overtime pay

Overtime is still possible with a CWW arrangement, but it may not be scheduled as part of the CWW. Overtime is calculated **both** on a daily and a weekly (or cycle) basis. **The greater number of overtime hours is what must be paid**. Alternatively, overtime worked under the CWW arrangement could be given as time off through an overtime agreement.

Based on the various examples of CWW shown above, overtime on a daily basis is those hours worked in excess of the CWW daily hours:

Example 1: |
after 11 hours |

Examples 2 and 5: |
after 10 hours |

Examples 3 and 4: |
after 12 hours (but permitted only in emergencies and a few other situations) |

Overtime on a weekly basis, for those compressed schedules contained within a week, is those hours worked in excess of 44. Where the employer has a practice or policy of paying overtime after fewer weekly hours, then overtime will be the hours worked in excess of those fewer hours. Where the compressed schedule runs two or more weeks in a cycle, overtime is those hours in excess of 44 hours (or fewer according to employer practice) times the number of weeks in the cycle. For instance, in Example 4, assuming the employer’s practice was to pay overtime after 42 average weekly hours, overtime would be those hours worked in excess of 12 in a day or 252 in the cycle, **whichever is greater**.

### General holiday pay

#### How to pay if the employee does not work on a general holiday

Qualified employees are entitled to have the general holiday off with pay only if they are normally scheduled to work on that day. There are two acceptable options for calculating the pay for the general holiday.

__Option 1__:

The regularly scheduled hours of work on the affected day in the compressed work week schedule becomes the basis for general holiday pay entitlement. The employee is entitled to a day off with a day’s pay. Using Example 1 above, where the employee normally works 11 hours per day from Monday through Thursday, if the general holiday fell on one of those days, the employee would get the day off with 11 hours’ pay.

__Option 2__:

The employer pays the employee for all nine statutory holidays, whether they fall on a regularly scheduled day of work or not, at 8 hours per holiday. If the holiday falls on an employee’s regularly scheduled working day, the employee would have the day off. Over the period of a year, this method of payment generally provides better than the minimum entitlement to the employees.

#### How to pay if an employee works on the general holiday

If an employee is required to work on the holiday, then, **in addition to the regular day’s pay (Option 1), or the 8 hours per holiday (Option 2),** the employee must be paid time-and-a-half for all the hours worked on the holiday.

*Alternatively,*

The holiday can be treated as just another working day (regular and overtime requirements would apply). The employee must then receive another working day off with pay in place of the holiday. Payment for the day off would be the hours regularly scheduled on the replacement holiday (Option 1) or 8 hours pay if all holidays are paid (Option 2). This future day off with pay must be given sometime before the employee's next annual vacation.

### Vacations and vacation pay

Vacation entitlements are normally described in terms of number of weeks. This principle continues to apply.

#### Single-week schedules

In Examples 1 and 2 above, the number of days of vacation entitlement will be 4 times the number of weeks of vacation. Thus, an employee entitled to three weeks’ vacation would be entitled to take 12 regular working days.

#### Multi-week schedules

In Examples 3, 4 and 5, however, the number of hours worked per week varies. The approach in these situations is to describe the vacation entitlement in terms of hours. Thus, three weeks’ vacation would be 3 times the average weekly hours worked:

Example 3: |
3 x 42 hours = 126 hours of vacation |

Example 4: |
3 x 42 hours = 126 hours of vacation |

Example 5: |
3 x 35 hours = 105 hours of vacation |

Vacation pay continues to be calculated as 4 per cent of regular wages for two weeks’ vacation entitlement, and 6 per cent for three weeks.

### Some common questions

## General

### 1. When is it appropriate to institute a CWW?

### 2. Is it possible to have a CWW and an overtime agreement as described in section 23 of the Code?

### 3. Is there a limit to the number of regular hours which may be scheduled in a day as part of a CWW?

### 4. Can a CWW average more than 44 hours per week?

### 5. What is a CWW ‘cycle’?

### 6. How is a new employee paid for hours of work if they start employment part way into the cycle?

### 7. If a casual or part-time employee fills in for another employee on a CWW, can the scheduled hours worked be paid at regular pay?

### 8. Can two employees job-share on a CWW schedule?

### 9. Can an employee be required to make up a shift when they have been absent, for any reason, on a scheduled work day?

### 10. If an employee was absent from work for a scheduled shift and was paid sick pay by the employer for that day, can the employee be required to make up a shift?

### 11. Can any scheduled work day be 8 hours or less under a CWW?

## Overtime

### 12. Under a CWW arrangement, is it permissible to work overtime hours?

### 13. When does an employee on a CWW qualify for overtime pay?

## General holiday pay

### 14. Who is a qualified employee for general holiday pay purposes?

### 15. How is a qualified employee under a CWW paid for a general holiday that falls on a scheduled work day and the employee does not work?

### 16. What is the minimum pay that a qualified employee under a CWW must be paid for working on a general holiday when scheduled to work on the holiday?

### 17. If a qualified employee was not scheduled to work on a general holiday but was required to work on that day, how are they paid?

### 18. If a qualified employee does not work on a general holiday when the holiday falls on a scheduled work day, can the employee be required to "make up" a shift?

### 19. Is the “5 out of 9 Rule” under section 27 of the Code used in determining a normal work day under a CWW?

### 20. How is a “construction employee” paid general holiday pay when working under a CWW arrangement?

## Termination

### 21. How is an employee paid if their employment is terminated prior to the end of a cycle?

### More details

#### How the law applies

Under section 20 of the *Employment Standards Code (Code), *providing certain conditions are met, an employer may require or permit an employee to work a Compressed Work Week (CWW), which is an arrangement that consists of fewer work days in the work week and more hours of work in a work day, paid at the employee’s regular wage rate.

__Note__: An employee’s approval is not required, nor is permission from Employment Standards required.

#### Disclaimer & copyright notice

This fact sheet contains general information, not legal advice. To interpret or apply the law, you must consult the *Employment Standards Code* and Employment Standards Regulation. This information is provided ‘as is’, without representation or warranty. The Government of Alberta will not be responsible for any loss or damage arising from your reliance on this information. This fact sheet is provided for your personal or educational use; it cannot be reproduced for commercial distribution.

Modified:

PID: 15788

### Contact Employment Standards

Call Employment Standards for information, or Ask a question online.

**780-427-3731**(Edmonton)**1-877-427-3731**(toll-free)