There is no general exemption from the employment standards for salaried employees. Certain industries have specific exemptions.
2(1) This Act applies to all employers and employees, including
the Crown in right of Alberta and its employees, except as
otherwise provided in this Part. (Employment Standards Code)
Your exact situation does matter when the tribunal or courts decide if an agreement or employment contract is enforceable when it does not directly contradict an employment standard. For example, requiring a six-month notice period before an employee can resign is likely not enforceable for minimum wage employees, but for an executive officer it may be reasonable and hold up.
Is this against the law
Alberta does not require that the break to be within or immediately after the first five hours of work, if you agree to it (including by signing an employment contract).
If you do not, then
If the employer and the employee cannot agree on a break schedule:
- The employer must provide at least 30 minutes within or immediately following the first 5 hours of the shift (at a time chosen by the employer)
- For shifts 10 hours or longer, the employer must provide at least 30 minutes within or immediately following the first 5 hours of the shift (at a time chosen by the employer) and a second break of at least 30 minutes after the first 5 hours of the shift.
Unfortunately, in this situation, the employer may terminate you if you do not agree to a schedule convenient to their business (just like they can fire you for refusing overtime).
Not agreeing to rest periods however does not constitute a reasonable cause to dismiss an employee for cause. You are still entitled to notice periods and severances depending on your employment history and employment contract.
Between 2017 and 2020, an employee was entitled to a 30-minute break within each five hours of work under the legislation passed by the labour-friendly New Democratic government, however, this change was reversed by the United Conservatives in 2020.