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Family Day, a public holiday in British Columbia

Employees in British Columbia get a day off with pay on Family Day which is celebrated the second Monday in February each year. As a result, family day for BC employees this year is Monday February 9. To be eligible for this statutory holiday, an employee must have been employed for 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday and, have worked or earned wages on 15 of the 30 days immediately before the statutory holiday. Employees are entitled to be paid an average day’s pay.

In British Columbia, vacation days count as days worked when determining entitlement to public holiday. Employees who work under an averaging agreement at any time in the 30 days before the holiday do not have to meet the 15-day requirement.

If the employee agrees or has to work on the public holiday, they will be compensated by receiving time-and-a-half for the first 12 hours worked and double-time for any work over 12 hours plus an average days pay. The employee may be given an alternate day off with holiday pay to substitute for the public holiday, if the employer and employee agree. The employee may also credit the wages for the alternate day off to his or her time bank.

Where an employer and the majority of employees agree, the employer may substitute another day off for a statutory holiday. An alternate or substitute day off must be scheduled no later than six months after the public holiday for which it was earned. The alternate or substitute day off must be scheduled before the employee’s next annual vacation or before the date the employment ends.

Note that some employees may be exempt from public holiday entitlements under the British Columbia Employment Standards Act.

Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are the other Canadian jurisdiction that recognize Family Day (under various names) as a public (statutory) holiday and allow workers that qualify time off with pay on that day. However, these provinces celebrate family day on the third Monday in February each year. As a result, family day for these provinces fall on Monday February 16, 2015. By having the holiday of family day on the second Monday, British Columbians is able to enjoy not only ski hills, but also parks and other local attractions throughout the province without other long-weekend traffic.

Important note about federally regulated workplaces: Provincial employment standards legislation does not apply to employees of federally regulated businesses like banks, telecommunications companies, railways and airlines, or to federal civil servants. These employers are covered by the Canada Labour Code, which does not provide for family day. However, federally regulated employers can at their discretion add Family Day as a public holiday or floater day in workplace policies.

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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