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Paid Holidays

For further information or clarification, please call the Branch at 368-5550 or 1-800-333-4362.

This information outlines the holidays and holiday pay that employers must give to their employees under the Employment Standards Act.

The Employment Standards Act give employees who qualify seven holidays with pay:

  • New Year's Day
  • Islander Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Good Friday
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Remembrance Day and
  • Christmas Day


Who Qualifies for Paid Holidays:

Not all employees qualify for these holidays. In order to have a day off with pay for these holidays, 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
  • have worked his/her last scheduled shift before the holiday and his/her first scheduled shift after the holiday.

The important word to remember is "scheduled."

Many people believe this means that if he/she does not work the day after the holiday then he/she is not qualified to receive holiday pay. If the day is one when he/she is not scheduled to work, then he/she may still qualify for the paid holiday.



If an employer tells an employee not to report for work on his last scheduled work day immediately before the holiday, or the next scheduled work day after the holiday, the employee is still entitled to receive holiday pay.


Workers Who Are Not Covered

Workers who are not covered by the rules for holiday pay include:

  • salespersons whose income is derived primarily from commission on sales
  • farm labourers

Paying an Employee for a Holiday

If an employee meets the three qualifications listed above 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 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.


Calculating a Wage When the Employee Works on a Holiday

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;


  • 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 Guide to Employment Standards is available online as a PDF document.


This information is meant to serve as a guide only.  The reader is strongly advised to consult the Employment Standards Act to view the legislation.  Where any difference exists between this information and the Act, the Act will be considered correct.

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