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Compensation Entitlement

Expert: Julie King

Mardon asked:

I have recently been laid off from a large oil field service company. I was employed with them for 11.8 years and they offered in lieu of pay but it doesn't compute compared to the standards in Alberta. They also offered a severance pay which equals 30% of my annual pay. My last day worked was over 3.5 months ago and they finally called me in to lay me off.

Should I be entitled to compensation for 3.5 months due to the employer's lack of thought to lay me off over 3.5 months ago? Also, is there any sort of standard for severance pay in Alberta or Canada besides the in lieu of pay standard?

Julie King answered:

Employment legislation varies from province to province, and there are very specific guidelines that employers must follow in each area. In Alberta, the Employment Standards Act can be found online at

Legislation sets minimum standards, but when a particular case goes to court the employer may be ordered to pay compensation that is greater than these minimums. From your email it sounds like you did not receive the minimum pay in lieu of notice that is owed to you, and that you could also have a claim based on the time at which the notice was delivered. In other words, it sounds like this is something that should be investigated further through a consultation with an employment law lawyer. In the initial consultation you'll be able to present the specifics of your situation, and the lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not you should expect additional compensation from your employer.

About the author

Julie King is the co-founder and managing editor of CanadaOne, Canada's first small business portal.

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