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Public holiday reminders for the 2017-18 holiday season

The public holiday reminders for the 2017-18 holiday season can be found in this article.

Public holiday reminders for the 2017-18 holiday seasonThe 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). That is why we are providing this public holiday reminder for the 2017–18 holiday season.

Public holiday reminders

The following are public (statutory) holidays that employers should be aware of for the 2017–18 holiday season:

  • Monday, December 25, 2017, Christmas Day, public holiday across Canada
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2017, Boxing Day, public holiday in Ontario and federally regulated workplaces
  • Monday, January 1, 2018, New Year’s Day, public holiday across Canada
  • Tuesday, January 2, 2018 (the day after New Year’s Day), Traditional or Bank Holiday, a public holiday for many banks and government offices in Quebec and federal government

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). For more information, consult The Human Resources Advisor for your jurisdiction.

This year Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on working days for many employees. Alberta and Ontario have made changes to their public holiday rules and these changes apply to the January 1, 2018 public holiday.

  • In Alberta, effective January 1, 2018, the requirement to have worked for 30 days in the 12 months before the holiday will be removed. The distinction between regular and non-regular days of work will be eliminated. In addition, general Holiday pay will be calculated as five percent of wages, general holiday pay, and vacation pay earned in the four workweeks immediately preceding the holiday.
  • In Ontario, the formula to calculate public holiday pay effective January 1, 2018, is amended. The amendment is designed to ensure that the calculation reflects an employee’s regular wages that he or she would have earned but for the holiday. The new calculation divides the total amount of regular wages earned in the pay period immediately preceding the public holiday by the number of days actually worked in that pay period to earn those wages. Also, employers who provide a substitute holiday to an employee will be required to provide written confirmation of that substitution. The written statement must set out the public holiday on which the employee will work, the date of the day that is substituted and the date on which the statement is provided to the employee.

Important note: The above are just reminders, and not meant to go into full detail or be specific. 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 our human resources management and payroll administration and management resources. Not a subscriber? Take a free trial of The Human Resources Advisor and for a payroll perspective in PaySource.

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.

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Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B. Managing Editor

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 18 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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