Severance Pay in Alberta

Severance pay in Alberta is required when a non-unionized employee is let go, fired, laid off or has their employment terminated without cause by their employer. In the case of an employer terminating a relationship with an employee, they must provide notice of the termination, severance pay, or a combination of both. The amount of severance you receive will depend on your individual situation.

In Alberta, severance pay is a minimum of one week’s pay after 90 days of employment, up to a maximum of 24 months’ pay for a full severance package. This amount is arrived at through the province’s Employment Standards Code (ESC) and the our common law court system.

The dedicated employment lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP in Alberta have years of experience negotiating severance packages, and getting clients what they are legally owed. If you have been let go from your job, contact us today for a consultation to find out what your rights are.

Watch the video below from the Employment Law Show and read on to learn more about your severance rights.


How much severance pay should I get in Alberta?

The amount of severance pay you should receive is determined by common law and Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (ESC).

Full severance pay (common law)

Common law severance is set directly by our courts, and influenced by a number of factors. This type of severance often provides an employee with far more compensation than the ESC.

The following factors are used to calculate common law severance pay in Alberta:

  • Age
  • Length of employment
  • Position and salary
  • Availability of similar employment
  • Bonus
  • Commission
  • Benefits
  • Overtime pay

The Alberta Severance Pay Calculator was created to provide a quick understanding of how much severance pay you may be entitled to receive upon termination, based on the above components.

Before you accept ANY severance offer, it is important to have an experienced Alberta employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review it first. Over 90% of companies offer far less severance pay to terminated employees than they are legally owed. A wrongful dismissal in Alberta occurs when a person does not receive enough severance. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to contact our team immediately to confirm what you are rightfully entitled to.

WATCH: Employment Lawyer Lior Samfiru explains when you can get severance on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Severance under the Employment Standards Code

The ESC guarantees the minimum amount of severance pay you will receive when you lose your job. The amount depends on your length of service as an employee.

Length of Service Minimum Severance
Between 90 days and two years of service 1 week’s notice
2 years to 4 years of service 2 weeks’ notice
After 4 to 6 years of service 3 weeks’ notice
After 6 to 8 years of service 5 weeks’ notice
After 8 to 10 years of service 6 weeks’ notice
After 10 years or more 8 weeks’ notice

These are the ESC minimums, and you can negotiate a better settlement than the one laid out in the guidelines above with the help of an experienced employment lawyer. Contact our firm for more information.

Back To Top

What is the maximum severance pay?

Severance pay can be as much as 24 months’ pay for a non-unionized employee in Alberta. This amount is based on an individual’s provincial and common law entitlements.

Back To Top

Is severance pay mandatory in Alberta?

Yes, severance pay is mandatory in Alberta under the following conditions:

If you are the one to submit notice to your employer that you want to leave the company but your employer decides to let you go before the end of the notice period, then your employer has to pay you severance for the remainder of that period.

Severance is not mandatory in the following situations:

  • When you quit without providing notice
  • When you resign or retire
  • When your limited-term contract ends
  • When you are given the option to take a different position with the company
  • When you leave the firm, and the situation is out of the employer’s control

Back To Top

How does an employment contract affect my severance?

An employer will attempt to use an employment contract to avoid paying your full common law severance pay. They will rely on a termination clause with legal language that restricts you to your minimum entitlements under the ESC.

In many cases, employers fail to create legally acceptable termination clauses, or do not update them routinely to keep pace with changes in the law. Therefore, a large number of employment contracts in Alberta contain invalid clauses about severance pay, meaning that you must receive full severance when let go from your job.

Make sure you check your employment contract (if you have one), or any relevant employee handbook or guidelines provided by the employer, as your employer may be obligated to provide you with a more generous amount of severance pay than required by the ESC. If you are in a union, you must consult your collective agreement and your union for this information.

The employment lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP have reviewed and successfully argued against countless employment contracts, resulting in significant severance package amounts for our clients.

Back To Top

How is severance pay provided to an employee?

Severance pay can be paid to an individual in Alberta in one of three ways: as a lump-sum payment, as salary continuance, or dispersed in a series of payments over a period of time.

Back To Top

Do I have to pay tax on severance pay?

Tax is paid on severance, as it qualifies as part of your employment earnings.

The amount of tax you pay will generally depend on your employer. You can receive your severance as a lump sum, and it will be taxed at the source. If you decide to place your severance amount in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), then you can defer paying your taxes until the amount is withdrawn later. If you decide to defer your severance payment and receive it later, you can delay paying taxes on your severance.

Contact an experienced lawyer to help you determine your best possible outcome when considering tax on your severance package.

Back To Top

Should I contact Employment Standards in Alberta to get severance pay?

No. You should not contact Employment Standards to help you get your severance pay, as they will only help you obtain your minimum entitlements under the ESC. We can help you get complete and fair compensation under common law, which can be many months more than what the government provides.

Contact an employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP today to get a comprehensive understanding of what your rights are, how much severance you may be owed, and how to secure it.

More resources on severance pay

Comprehensive services for Alberta employees

Our employment lawyers have successfully represented thousands of non-unionized individuals in various regions across Alberta, B.C. and Ontario.

In addition to severance package negotiations, we can assist you on a broad range of employment matters in Alberta, including:

For a comprehensive overview of employment, disability, and personal injury law, explore our Law Essentials page.

If you are a non-unionized employee who needs help with a workplace issue, contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need and the compensation you deserve.

Get the Severance Package You Are Owed

Talk to an employment lawyer in Alberta to find out how much severance you are entitled to, and how to get it.

Get Help Now

Why You Should Choose Samfiru Tumarkin LLP

  • Respected and Trusted Team

    Our employment and disability lawyers have earned the respect of our peers, media outlets and tens of thousands of clients.
  • Results You Need

    We endeavour to produce the most effective and efficient results possible for our clients, a claim backed up by 1,000+ positive online reviews from across Canada.
  • You Don't Pay Unless We Win

    We offer a contingency fee arrangement where appropriate. We aren't paid unless we recover money for you.
  • Customer Service

    Our lawyers are very responsive and keep their clients updated during every step of the process.
  • Reduced Stress

    Our lawyers fight on your behalf. We deal directly with your employer or insurance company so you don't have to.
  • Understand Your Rights

    We will tell you what your legal rights are and the steps we will take to enforce them so that you are confident in your case.

Schedule a Consultation

Do you need help with Severance Pay in Alberta? We are ready to assess the details of your situation.

Get Help Now

Use Our Interactive Resources

You have employment rights in Alberta! Find out how to enforce them through our helpful resources, various TV and radio programs, and our blog.

Pocket Employment Lawyer

Use our interactive resource to determine if your employment rights have been violated or if your long term disability claim was inappropriately denied.

Use Pocket Employment Lawyer

Severance Pay Calculator

Accurate. Anonymous. Free. Find out how much severance pay you are owed in Alberta. Used by over one million Canadians.

Calculate Severance Now

Advice You Need. Compensation You Deserve

Consult with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. If you require help from a labour and employment lawyer in Alberta, rely on our experienced and trusted employment, labour and disability law firm. Take advantage of our years of experience and success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

Get Help Now