There are a number of upcoming public (statutory or general) holidays that require employers to provide paid days off to employees. Although, in some jurisdictions, social gatherings are restricted to your own household, and in other jurisdictions the number of people who can gather is limited to five or 10 people because of public health orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, the holidays are always a well-deserved break — even for those who work remotely or from home.
Below, we have summarized some of the most important obligations with respect to these holidays.
Public holiday requirements by jurisdictions
All 14 Canadian jurisdictions recognize Christmas Day (Friday, December 25, 2020) and New Year’s Day (Friday, January 1, 2021) as public holidays.
In addition to the above holidays, Ontario and federally regulated workplaces also recognize Boxing Day (Saturday, December 26, 2020) as a public holiday. Note that since December 26 falls on a Saturday, the holiday is moved to the next business day immediately preceding or following the general holiday in some jurisdictions.
So what are employees’ general entitlements regarding the above public holidays? (Note, there are variations and exemptions which are not captured here. This only covers what applies for most employees in general.)
|Jurisdiction||Entitlements||Entitlements if worked||Qualifications|
|Fed. Reg.||Day off with public holiday pay. |
Public holiday pay is equal to at least one twentieth (1/20th) of the wages, excluding overtime pay that they earned in the 4 week period immediately before the week in which the general holiday occurs.
|In addition to the holiday pay for that day, pay at a rate equal to at least one and one-half times their regular rate of wages for the time worked on that day.||Every employee is entitled to and should be granted a holiday with pay on each of the general holidays falling within any period of their employment.|
|AB||Day off with holiday pay, which is an average day’s wage if the holiday falls on a regular day of work. |
To calculate average daily wage, employers can choose to divide the total wages earned by the number of days worked in either:
1) the 4 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday, or
2) the 4 weeks ending on the last day of the pay period that immediately preceded the general holiday.
If the holiday falls on a day that is not a regular day of work, employee not eligible for holiday pay.
|If a holiday falls on a regular workday and the employee works, the employee is entitled to an amount that is equal to: |
1) Hours worked x hourly wage x 1.5 + average daily wage, or
2) Hours worked x hourly wage + future day off at average daily wage.
If the employee works but the holiday falls on a day that is not a regular workday, the employee is paid hours worked x hourly wage x 1.5.
|Must be employed for at least 30 calendar days in the 12 months preceding the holiday.|
Will not be entitled to holiday pay if the employee does not work on a holiday when required or scheduled to do so, or is absent from employment without the consent of the employer on the workday before or after a holiday.
|BC||Day off with average day’s pay. |
An average day’s pay is calculated by dividing the amount paid or payable to the employee for work done during and wages earned within the 30 calendar days before the holiday (including vacation pay) less any overtime pay, by the number of days the employee has worked or earned wages within that 30-day period.
This average day’s pay applies whether or not the holiday falls on the employee’s regularly scheduled day off.
|1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate for the first 12 hours, 2 times the hourly rate after that, plus an average day’s wage.||Must be employed for at least 30 calendar days before the holiday, and: (a) has worked or earned wages for 15 of the 30 calendar days preceding the holiday; or (b) has worked under an averaging agreement at any time within that 30 calendar day period.|
|MB||Day off with regular wages. If hours of work or wages vary, general holiday pay is calculated at 5% of the gross wages (not including overtime) in the 4-week period immediately before the holiday.||1.5 times the hourly rate for hours worked, plus their general holiday pay.||Will not be entitled to holiday pay if the employee does not work on a holiday when required or scheduled to do so, or is absent from employment without the consent of the employer on the workday before or after a holiday.|
|NB||Day off with regular wages, even if the employee is not scheduled to work on the day the holiday falls. If hours of work vary, a regular day is calculated by taking the amount of hours worked in the last 30 days (not including overtime) and dividing it by the number of days worked.||1.5 times the regular wages, plus a regular day’s pay.||Must be employed by the employer for at least 90 calendar days during the 12 months before the public holiday. Must have worked his or her scheduled regular day of work before and after the holiday, unless there is a good reason for not doing so. If he or she has agreed to work on the public holiday, report for work and work his or her scheduled shift, unless there is a good reason for not doing so. Must not be employed under an arrangement where he or she can decide when to work or not to work. Not be employed in specific occupations exempted by regulation.|
|NL||Day off with an average day’s pay.||2 times the regular rate for hours worked on the holiday or an additional day off with pay within 30 days or an additional vacation day.||Worked at least 30 calendar days prior to the paid holiday and works his or her scheduled shift before and after the paid holiday.|
|NS||Day off with regular day’s pay. If hours of work or wages vary, average hours or wages over the 30-day period immediately before the holiday.||1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of wages for the hours worked, plus a regular day’s pay.||Must be entitled to receive pay for at least 15 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday, and have worked on his or her last scheduled shift or day before the holiday and on the first scheduled shift or day after the holiday.|
|NT||Day off with an average day’s pay.||Time + 1/2 plus an average day’s pay. As an alternative, the employer may transfer the holiday to another day, giving the employee a day off with pay.||An employee must have worked for the employer for: 30 days within the 12 months prior to the holiday; report to work on his or her last scheduled workday prior to the holiday and his or her next scheduled workday following the holiday; report to work on the holiday if he or she is scheduled or called to work. Part-time employees are entitled to statutory holiday pay once they meet the conditions set out above.|
|NU||Day off with regular pay.||1.5 times the regular rate for hours worked plus a normal day’s pay, or regular wages plus a another day off work with pay.||Employee is disqualified from holiday pay: where the employee has not worked for the same employer for a total of 30 days during the preceding 12 months prior to the holiday; where the employee did not report to work on that day after having been called to work on that day; where, without the consent of his or her employer, the employee has not reported for work on either his or her last regular working day preceding or following the general holiday; where the employee is on pregnancy or parental leave.|
|ON||Day off work with public holiday pay. Public holiday pay is generally calculated by dividing the total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay earned in the four weeks before the holiday week by 20.||1.5 times the employees hourly rate, plus public holiday pay, or regular wages for all hours worked plus a substitute day off with public holiday pay.||Employees qualify for the public holiday entitlement unless they: fail without reasonable cause to work all of their last regularly scheduled day of work before the public holiday or all of their first regularly scheduled day of work after the public holiday; or fail without reasonable cause to work their entire shift on the public holiday if they agreed to or were required to work that day. Employees who fail to qualify for the public holiday entitlement are still entitled to be paid premium pay for every hour they work on the holiday.|
|PE||Day off with regular day’s pay. If hours of work change from day to day, or if wages change from pay to pay, the employer could average hours or wages over 30 previous days to calculate what to pay the employee for the holiday.||1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of wages for the hours worked, plus a regular day’s pay.||Must be employed for/with the same employer for 30 calendar days prior to the holiday. Must have earned pay on at least 15 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday. Must have worked his/her last scheduled shift before the holiday and his/her first scheduled shift after the holiday.|
|QC||Day off with holiday pay whether the day falls on a regular or not regular day of work.|
Holiday pay for each statutory general holiday must be 1/20 of the wages the employee has earned during the four complete weeks of pay before the week of the holiday, excluding overtime.
If a holiday falls on a non-workday or annual leave of an employee, the employer must pay the employee the holiday pay or grant them a compensatory holiday on a date agreed upon between the employer and the employee or fixed by a collective agreement or a decree.
|Regular wages for hours worked, plus stat holiday entitlement, or regular rate for hours worked, plus an additional day off with pay within three weeks of the holiday.||Employee is not entitled to holiday pay if the employee has been absent from work without the employer’s authorization or without valid cause on the working day before or after the holiday.|
|SK||Day off with public holiday pay. Public holiday pay is equal to 5% of their wages earned in the four weeks (28 days) before the public holiday, including vacation pay for holidays taken but not overtime.||Public holiday pay, plus a premium of 1.5 times their hourly wage for each hour worked. During a week with a public holiday, employees receive overtime after working 32 hours. The 32 hours does not include any hours worked on the public holiday.||An individual must be employed by the employer on the day of the public holiday to get public holiday pay.|
|YU||Day off with regular day’s pay. If paid on a commission or on a piece-work basis, must be paid average daily wage, exclusive of overtime or bonus, earned in the week of the holiday. If irregular hours, must be paid general holiday pay of 10% of the wages (excluding vacation pay) earned for the hours worked in the 2 calendar weeks immediately prior to the week in which the holiday falls. This includes any overtime earned in that period.||All hours worked are paid at the applicable overtime rate in addition to the employee’s general holiday pay, or all hours worked are paid at the regular rate, plus an additional day off with pay.||Must be employed for 30 calendar days before the holiday. Must work last scheduled shift before the holiday and first scheduled shift after the holiday, unless absence is permitted. Required to work on the holiday if called to work.|
Note that the above provisions regarding public holiday entitlements and payments may apply differently to employers who are party to collective agreements, as well as to employers in specific industry sectors.