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Public holiday reminders for the 2016-17 holiday season

public holidayThe holidays can either be considered the most relaxing time of year or the most stressful. It is a time where families and friends gather, gifts are exchanged and countless desserts are indulged. However, leading to that point of unwinding can be stressful for many, with the balancing of family demands and workplace year–end pressures. Regardless of such amounting pressures, employers should not neglect their responsibilities to employees under the law when it comes to time off during the holidays (i.e. public holiday).

Public holiday reminders

The following are public (statutory) holidays that employers should be aware of for the 2016-17 holiday season:

  • Sunday, December 25, 2016, Christmas Day, public holiday across Canada
  • Monday, December 26, 2016, Boxing Day, public holiday in Ontario and federally-regulated workplaces
  • Sunday, January 1, 2017, New Year’s Day, public holiday across Canada
  • Monday, January 2, 2017 (the day after New Year’s Day), Bank Holiday, public holiday for many banks and government offices in Quebec

On the above holidays, when applicable, employees get a day off with regular pay or public holiday pay (depending on the province or territory of employment). In the event an employee is required to work on the holiday, the employee must be paid regular wages and get a substituted day off with pay at a later date (again, this depends on the province or territory of employment).

Also, this year Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on non–working days for many employees. When a public (statutory) holiday falls on a non–working day, under Employment/Labour Standards legislation, the general rule is that an employer must provide a substituted day off (which is another working day off designated to replace a public holiday). Depending on the province or territory of employment, employees are entitled to be paid public holiday pay or regular pay for a substituted holiday. See the blog post “Dealing with public holidays on non-working days“.

Important note: The above are just reminders, and not meant to go into full detail. That said, there are particular rules and various exemptions and considerations for certain jurisdictions that employers should take into consideration. More detailed information about working on the holidays, holiday pay, non-working days, etc. can be found in the “Library” section of HRinfodesk and/or The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western or Atlantic Editions). Not a subscriber? For a free trial, click here (HRinfodesk) and here (The Human Resources Advisor).

Considering diverse religious beliefs

It is important that employers are sensitive to the diverse religious beliefs of their employees. Employers should consider diverse religious beliefs, as employees may celebrate a range of religious or non–religious holidays during this time. For a list of possible holidays that employees may celebrate, consult the “Calendar” section of HRinfodesk. Click here for a free trial.

Cristina Lavecchia

Cristina is an editor and researcher at First Reference. She is a licensed paralegal and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, Political Science major at York University. During Cristina's paralegal and undergraduate studies she studied employment standards, occupational health and safety, and workplace safety and insurance. Read more
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