2016 Statutory Holidays With Worker Eligibility and Pay Out

January 22, 2016 Leena Thampan

Statutory Holidays for 2016

Unlike the US, employers in Canada are required by law to observe statutory holidays as per federal, provincial and territorial labour regulations.

Commonly known as public holidays, in most countries, including Canada, these holidays are not considered a part of an employee’s annual leave and are usually tracked as paid time off. 

If you are a federally regulated business in Canada, your employees are entitled to nine (9) paid holidays annually. These are:

  • New Year’s Day on January 1, 2016; observed nationwide
  • Good Friday on Friday, March 25, 2016; observed nationwide, except in Quebec
  • Victoria Day on Monday, May 23, 2016
  • Canada Day on Friday, July 1, 2016; observed nationwide
  • Labour Day on Monday, September 5, 2016; observed nationwide
  • Thanksgiving Day on Monday, October 10, 2016
  • Remembrance Day on Friday, November 11, 2016
  • Christmas Day on Sunday, December 25, 2016; observed nationwide
  • Boxing Day on Monday, December 26, 2016

As you probably noticed, not all statutory holidays are observed nationwide. Of course, it would be simpler if all employers, federal or not, had to observe the same list of holidays nationwide. 

In order to ensure provincial compliance, you should consult the Ministry of Labour in your province to determine which statutory holidays apply to your business specifically. 

How do Statutory holidays impact payroll?

Statutory holiday pay is typically calculated as the daily rate, based on an average of earnings over a period of time prior to the statutory holiday.

It is easier to determine statutory holiday pay owed to employees who are paid a fixed salary because the Canada Labour Code only requires you to split the amount between regular salary and statutory holiday pay. 

But in most other cases, a daily average has to be calculated based on the earnings for a specific period. 

For more information on how statutory holidays impact payroll, check out our detailed post on this topic. 

In some jurisdictions, statutory holiday pay is calculated at a standard percentage. For instance, in Saskatchewan, employees are paid statutory holiday pay equal to 5% of their wages earned in the four weeks before the holiday

Province

Statutory Holiday Pay, if Worked

Statutory Holiday Pay, if not Worked

Provincial Employment Standards

British Columbia

An eligible employee who works on a statutory holiday is entitled to be paid:

Time-and-a-half for the first 12 hours worked and double-time for any work over 12 hours; plus an average day’s pay.

When an employee is given a day off on a statutory holiday, or it falls on a regular day off, an eligible employee is entitled to be paid an average day’s pay.

An average day’s pay is calculated by dividing “total wages” earned in the 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday by the number of days worked. Vacation days taken during this period count as days worked.

“Total wages” includes wages, commissions, statutory holiday pay and vacation pay but does not include overtime pay.

British Columbia Employment Standards

Alberta

Pay the employee an amount that is at least the average daily wage of the employee, plus pay an amount that is at least 1.5 times the employee’s wage rate for each hour of work that the employee worked on the day of the general holiday.

OR

Pay the employee an amount that is at least the employee’s wage rate on each hour of work that the employee worked on the day of the general holiday, plus provide the employee with one day of holiday no later than the employee’s next annual vacation and general holiday pay of an amount that is at least the employee’s average daily wage.

Note: The replacement holiday must be a day on which the employee is normally scheduled to work.

The employer must pay the employee general holiday pay of an amount that is at least the average daily wage for the employee.

 

Alberta Employment Standards

Saskatchewan

Most employees who work on a public holiday, including managers, are entitled to both public holiday pay and premium pay of 1.5 times their hourly wage for each hour or part of an hour worked.

This premium is paid on top of the employee’s public holiday pay for that day.

Employees earn public holiday pay equal to five per cent of their wages, not including overtime pay, earned in the four weeks before the public holiday. 

Wages include: vacation pay; and any public holiday paid to the employee during this four-week period.

Saskatchewan Employment Standards

Manitoba

At most workplaces, employers must pay employees who work on a general holiday their general holiday pay, plus 1 ½ times their wage for the hours worked on that day.

Employees who consistently work the same number of hours get one regular work day’s pay as general holiday pay.

For employees whose 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.

Manitoba Employment Standards

Ontario

Public holiday pay plus premium pay for the hours worked on the public holiday;

OR

Their regular rate for hours worked on the holiday, plus they will receive another day off (called a "substitute" holiday) with public holiday pay. 

If the employee has earned a substitute day off with public holiday pay, the public holiday pay calculation is done with respect to the four work weeks before the work week in which the substitute day off falls.

The amount of public holiday pay to which an employee is entitled is all of the regular wages earned by the employee in the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday plus all of the vacation pay payable to the employee with respect to the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday, divided by 20.

Regular wages do not include any overtime or premium pay payable to an employee.

Ontario Employment Standards

Quebec

Regular wages for hours worked plus an indemnity.

OR 

Regular wages plus alternate day.

Note: The indemnity is 1/20 wages less OT in previous 4 weeks.  For commission employees, the indemnity is 1/60 wages earned in the previous 12 weeks.

Source: Ceridian

Indemnity note: The indemnity is 1/20 wages less OT in previous 4 weeks.  

For commission employees, the indemnity is 1/60 wages earned in the previous 12 weeks.

Source: Ceridian

Quebec Employment Standards

New Brunswick

All employees are entitled to receive one and one-half time their regular wage rate for each hour worked on a paid public holiday.

An employee who qualifies and works on the public holiday must receive his regular day’s pay plus one and one-half times his regular wage rate for the hours worked on that day.

An employee who qualifies and does not work on the public holiday must receive his regular day’s pay for that day.

New Brunswick Employment Standards

Nova Scotia

An employee who works on a holiday and who qualifies to be paid holiday pay is entitled to receive both of the following:

The amount the employee would have normally received for that day

AND

One and a half times the employee’s regular rate of  wages for the number of hours worked on that holiday.

If an employee qualifies for the holiday and is given the day off, the employer must pay a regular day’s pay for that holiday. 

If the employee’s hours of work change from day to day, or if wages change from pay to pay, the employer should average hours or wages over 30 days to calculate what to pay the employee for the holiday. 

Nova Scotia Employment Standards

Prince Edward Island

An employee who works on a holiday and who is qualified to be paid holiday pay is entitled to receive the following:

The amount the employee would have normally received for that day; plus, one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of wages for the number of hours worked on that holiday;

OR

Regular rate of wages for the number of hours worked on that day; plus, another day off with pay for the equivalent hours worked.

Note: an employee who has an arrangement with their employer where they may elect to either work or not work when requested does not qualify.

The employer must pay a regular day's pay for that holiday. 

If the employee's 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.

An employee who qualifies for the paid holiday but who is not scheduled to work on the paid holiday is entitled to another day off with pay.

Prince Edward Island Employment Standards

Newfoundland and Labrador

Pay at twice the regular rate or another day off with pay within 30 days or additional vacation day – employee’s choice.

Employee receives an average day’s pay at their regular rate.

If a holiday falls on the employee’s normal day off, they receive the next working day off with pay or another day, which the employee and employer agree on.

Newfoundland and Labrador Employment Standards

Northwest Territories

If an employee is required to work on a statutory holiday, the employer shall, in addition to paying holiday pay;

(a) Pay the employee overtime pay for the time worked by the employee on that day;

OR

(b) Give the employee a substitute holiday at some other time, convenient to the employee and employer, that is not later than the next annual vacation of the employee or the termination of his or her employment, whichever occurs first.

An employee who is not required to work on a statutory holiday shall not be required to work on another day that would otherwise be a non-working day in the week in which that holiday occurs, unless the employer pays the employee a rate at least equal to double his or her regular rate of wages for the time worked by the employee on that day.

The amount of holiday pay must be equivalent to or greater than:

(a) The wages the employee would have earned at the regular rate of wages for the normal hours of work of the employee, if the employee’s wages are calculated on the basis of time;

OR

(b) His or her daily wages, based on the average of his or her daily wages for the four weeks that the employee worked immediately preceding the week in which the statutory holiday occurs, if the employee’s wages are calculated on another basis.

Northwest Territories Employment Standards

Yukon

In addition to their general holiday pay, there are two payment options when an employee works on a general holiday:

1) Be paid at the applicable overtime rate for all hours worked on the general holiday;

OR

2) Be paid at their regular rate for hours worked on the general holiday and be given a day off, which may be added to the employee’s annual vacation or be granted a day off at a time convenient to the employer and the employee.

The amount an employee must be paid as general holiday pay depends on whether they work regular hours and how they are paid.

REGULAR HOURLY RATE: An employee who works regular hours and is paid an hourly rate must be paid the equivalent of their regular rate of pay for their normal hours of work.

REGULAR MONTHLY/WEEKLY SALARY: An employee who works regular hours and is paid a salary must be given a day off without a reduction in their normal salary.

REGULAR COMMISSION/PIECE WORK: An employee who works regular hours and is paid a commission or on a piece work basis must be paid their average daily wage, exclusive of overtime or bonus, earned in the week of the holiday.

IRREGULAR HOURS: An employee who works less than the standard hours or who works 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 would include any overtime earned during that period. 

Yukon Employment Standards

Nunavut

An employee who is required to work on a day in respect of which the employee is entitled under this Part to a holiday with pay:

(a) Shall be paid, in addition to any payment made in accordance with section 24, at a rate at least equal to 1.5 times his or her regular rate of wages for the time worked by the employee on that day; 

OR

(b) Shall be given a holiday and pay in accordance with section 24 at any other time convenient to the employee and the employer that is not later than the next annual vacation of the employee or the termination of his or her employment, whichever occurs first, and the day that is substituted shall be deemed to be the general holiday for the purposes of this Act.

As per Section 24 of Nunavut Employment Standards,

an employee whose wages are calculated on the basis of time shall, for a general holiday on which the employee does not work, be paid at least the equivalent of the wages the employee would have earned at the regular rate of wages for the normal hours of work of the employee.

An employee whose wages are calculated on any other basis shall, for a general holiday on which the employee does not work, be paid at least the equivalent of his or her daily wages, based on the average of his or her daily wages for the four weeks that the employee worked immediately preceding the week in which the general holiday occurs.

Nunavut Employment Standards

The Government of Canada provides a handy General Holiday Calculator that will help you estimate minimum entitlements owed based on Federal Labour Standard laws. You will need pay stubs and hours worked on hand to use this calculator. 

Are all employees eligible to receive statutory holiday pay?

In Canada, statutory holidays are treated as paid time off; however, you need to determine if all your employees are eligible to receive statutory holiday pay. 

Eligibility is determined based on two factors: length of employment and/or the number of days worked. 

  • In British Columbia, “an employee has to be employed for 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday and should also have worked or earned wages on 15 of the 30 days immediately before the statutory holidays”. 
  • In Alberta, “an employee should have worked for the employer for at least 30 working days in the year before the general holiday, the employee should have worked their last scheduled shift before and their first scheduled shift after (unless they had the employer’s permission to be absent) and the employee must not have refused to work on the general holiday when asked to do so”. 
  • In Saskatchewan, “all employees are eligible to receive statutory holiday pay even if he or she has only been employed for less than four weeks before the public holiday”. 
  • In Manitoba, employees are not eligible to receive statutory holiday pay if they are scheduled to work on a public holiday, but are absent without the employer’s permission. Employees who are absent without the employer’s permission from their last scheduled workday before the holiday, or their first scheduled workday after the holiday are also ineligible to receive holiday pay. 
  • In Ontario, all employees are eligible to receive statutory holiday pay, irrespective of their full time / part time employment status, hire date or the number of days they worked before the statutory holiday. However, “if employees do not work all of their last regularly scheduled work before the public holiday or all of their first regularly scheduled day after the public holiday without reasonable cause, they are not eligible to receive holiday pay. Additionally, employees are ineligible if they agreed to or were required to work on a public holiday and they fail to work without reasonable cause”. 
  • In Quebec, “employees who are absent from work without authorization or valid reason on the working day before or following the holiday do not receive holiday pay”.  
  • In New Brunswick, “in order to qualify to receive holiday pay an employee must be employed for at least 90 calendar days (not only work days) during the 12 months before the public holiday, have worked his or her scheduled regular day of work before and after the holiday unless they have a good reason for not doing so. Additionally, if an employee agrees to work on a public holiday but does not show up without a reasonable cause, the employer is not required to pay the employee for the holiday. Employees who have an agreement in place that allows them to decide when to work or not to work are also ineligible to receive holiday pay”. 
  • In Nova Scotia, “an employee is entitled to receive holiday pay if he or she is entitled to receive pay for at least 15 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday. The employee should have also worked on his/her last scheduled shift or day before the holiday and the first scheduled shift / day after the holiday”.
  • In Prince Edward Island, “an employee must be employed for/with the same employer for 30 calendar days prior to the holiday, have earned pay on at least 15 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday and have worked his/her last scheduled shift before the holiday and his/her first scheduled shift after the holiday”. 
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, “the employee must have been employed for at least 30 days and have worked the scheduled shifts before and after the holiday”.
  • In the Northwest Territories, “an employee is not entitled to be paid holiday pay for a statutory holiday on which he/she does not work if the employee has not worked for his/her employer a total of at least 30 days during the preceding 12 months, if the employer was required to work that day, but did not report to work; or if the employee, without the consent of the employer, did not report for work on his/her last regular working day preceding or following the statutory holiday”.
  • In Yukon, “an employee is eligible to receive holiday pay if he/she has been employed 30 calendar days before the holiday, has worked their last scheduled shift before and their first scheduled shift after the holiday and if the employee works on the holiday if called to work”. 
  • In Nunavut, “no employee is entitled to be paid for a general holiday if the employee has not worked for his/her employer a total of 30 days during the preceding 12 months, if the employee did not report to work on that day after having been called to work on that day, if the employee did not report to work without the consent of his/her employer on the last regular working day preceding or following the general holiday”.

What happens when a statutory holiday falls on an employee’s day off?

When a statutory holiday falls on an employee’s day off, the paid day off is observed on the first working day immediately following the general holiday.

For instance, Christmas day falls on a Sunday this year, so the statutory paid day off would be observed on Monday, December 26, 2016 and Boxing day would be observed the following day on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. 

About the Author

Leena Thampan

Leena worked for some of the big guns in the media industry before deciding her true calling was to be the ultimate curator of our brand - this is our version of the story, of course. She spends her days cooking culinary masterpieces from all over the world. And if you are not really careful, she might just offer it to you.

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