Overtime wages help add perks to life, says electrical worker

Enmax has been a steady supplier of electricity of Calgary for years. They have also been steady suppliers of solid wages for their tradesmen for just as long.

 Mark Nielsen began working for Enmax shortly after obtaining his two-year diploma in electrical engineering from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. The company then put him on track to complete a three-year apprenticeship to become a power systems electrician.

After following those steps, Nielsen now earns $45 per hour, going from substation to substation helping his work crew to troubleshoot electrical problems.

“There isn’t much I don’t like about this job,” he said. “The pay is great and the focus on safety is really reassuring.”

Safety is a big concern when working with high voltage electric supply, he said.Mark Nielsen, an employee at Enmax, enjoys his hourly wage job because of its focus on safety and option for overtime hours.
Photo by: Geoffrey Picketts

“The potential danger to my safety on the job is one negative of this job, but the supervisors really make sure we minimize risks,” he added.

The advantages seem to compensate for potential risks. A wide variety of work, mental and physical challenges associated with fixing circuit-breakers, good co-workers, and handsome paycheques all factor heavily into why Nielsen likes the job.

In the past year, he has purchased a townhouse in the community of Kingsland and a Nissan Altima to drive. Nielsen has also picked up snowboarding as a hobby, and frequents downtown bars and lounges on the weekend – he credits his salary from Enmax for being able to do all these things.

Overtime hours are a common feature of the work week – Nielsen logged 20 hours of overtime this week alone – but you won’t find him complaining.

“20 hours overtime is unusual for one week, it’s often only five to 10 hours a month,” he said. “I took a lot of time off over the holidays so this helps me catch up.

“A lot of places will pay time and a half for overtime,” Nielson added. “My position pays double time for OT.”

With his base hourly rate, that works out to $90 per hour.

gpicketts@cjournal.ca

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