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Employment Lawyers Discuss Statutory Holidays and Pay

Employment Law

If a statutory holiday falls on a weekend, are employees entitled to statutory holiday pay for that day? It is a common misconception that employees are automatically entitled to pay for statutory holidays. The truth is that it depends on the circumstances.

The Employment Standards Code sets out the rules in Alberta for non-federally regulated workers.

In Alberta, an employee is eligible for statutory holiday pay if they have worked for the same employer for at least 30 days in the prior 12 months. Due to this rule, part-time and casual workers may not be eligible. It is also an eligibility requirement that the employee work their shifts scheduled immediately before and after the holiday. An employee taking an unscheduled day off at those times are not entitled to receive statutory holiday pay.

To determine whether an employee is entitled to be paid for a holiday, it must be determined whether the holiday falls on a day considered a “regular day of work” for the employee. A “regular day of work” is a day of the week that the employee worked for at least 5 of the previous 9 weeks. Therefore, the meaning of a “regular day of work” is dependent on each employee’s schedule. For example, a Saturday or a Sunday will be considered a regular day of work if the employee often works on weekends.

In Alberta, if the holiday falls on a regular day of work and the employee works that day, that employee is entitled to 1.5 times their hourly wage(“time and a half”)

If the holiday falls on a day that is normally a regular day of work, but the employee does not work, that employee is entitled to their average daily wage. An employee is entitled to receive their average daily wage for any holiday that falls on a regular day of work, whether they work it or not.

If the holiday falls on a day that is not a regular day of work and the employee does not work, that employee is not eligible for statutory holiday pay or any other amount. For example, if the statutory holiday was to fall on the weekend and the employee regularly works from Monday to Friday, that employee would not be entitled to receive any statutory holiday pay.

The Canada Labour Code sets out different rules for federally regulated employees. Under the federal Code, the general rule is that every employee is entitled to pay on statutory holidays.

When certain holidays fall on a day off for an employee, that employee is entitled to a paid day off on the working day immediately preceding or following the statutory holiday. This applies for New Year’s Day, Canada Day, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. For other statutory holidays, employees are entitled to take a holiday with pay which can either be added to their annual vacation or be granted at some other time when it falls on a day off.

If you have any questions about statutory holiday pay and whether your employment is subject to the Employment Standards Code or the Canada Labour Code, please contact our team of employment lawyers who can provide advice specific to your situation.

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