The ESA provides for nine public holidays:
Most employees are entitled to public holidays regardless of how long they've been working.
*Note: Family day is a public holiday falling on the third Monday in February.
To see if you are entitled to public holidays under the Employment Standards Act, 2000:
Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday and Boxing Day on a Wednesday. Suppose that an employer's work week runs from Sunday to Saturday. In this case, the four work weeks used to calculate public holiday pay are those four weeks counting backwards from the Saturday (the last day of the employer's work week) before the public holidays.
If the employee is taking a substitute day off with public holiday pay, this calculation is done for the four work weeks before the work week in which the substitute day falls.
The following four examples show how to calculate public holiday pay under a number of different circumstances. (In each example it is assumed that the employee qualifies for public holiday pay by working the last regularly scheduled shift before the public holiday and the first regularly scheduled shift after the holiday.)
Example 1: A typical case
Farida works five days a week and earns $100.00 a day.
Result: Farida is entitled to $100.00 public holiday pay.
Example 2: When vacation time is involved
Brad works five days a week and earns $100.00 a day. He was on vacation for two of the four weeks before the public holiday. He is paid $1,000.00 vacation pay for his two weeks of vacation.
Example 3: When an employee works part-time and each pay cheque includes vacation pay
Tegan works three days a week and earns $100.00 a day. She and her employer have agreed in writing that she will receive four per cent vacation pay on each cheque.
Example 4: When there are no set hours and each pay cheque includes vacation pay
Andrea doesn't work a set number of hours per day or days per week. Her pay varies from week to week, according to the time she has worked. She and her employer have agreed in writing that she will receive four per cent vacation pay on each pay cheque.
Most employees have the right to refuse to work on a public holiday, and to take the day off and get paid public holiday pay. However, you can agree to work on the holiday. (The agreement must be in writing.) In that case there are two options::
you are entitled to regular wages for all hours worked on the public holiday plus another regular working day off with public holiday pay (this substitute day off must be scheduled for no later than three months after the public holiday or, if you agree in writing, up to 12 months after the public holiday)
A public holiday falls on one of Betty's normal working days. She and her employer have agreed in writing that she will work on the public holiday and that, instead of getting a substitute day off, she will be paid public holiday pay plus premium pay for all the hours she works on the holiday.
Betty regularly works eight hours a day, five days a week. Her regular hourly pay rate is $10.00. She has worked on all her scheduled work days in the four work weeks before the public holiday. She works eight hours on the public holiday.
Working none or only some of the hours you agreed to work on the public holiday, unless you have reasonable cause for not working, will eliminate your right to public holiday pay or to a substitute day off with pay. However, you would still be paid premium pay for any hours you did work on the public holiday.
These are complicated scenarios. You can find out more by clicking on the links to the fact sheets below.
Some employees can be required to work on a public holiday. For example, an employee who works in a hospital, hotel, motel, tourist resort, restaurant, tavern or other specified business may be required to work if the holiday falls on a day the employee would normally work (and he or she is not on vacation).
Refer to Public holidays for more information about qualifying for a day off and public holiday pay and about special rules about this entitlement.
If you are employed in one of these businesses and you are required to work, you are entitled to either:
Your regular rate of pay for the hours worked on the public holiday, plus a substitute day off work with public holiday pay.
The employer chooses which of these options will apply.
Employees who work in jobs that are exempt from the public holidays part of the ESA can also be required to work on public holidays. Refer to Is my job covered? for details about industry specific and job specific exemptions.
If your employment ends before you can take a substitute day off with public holiday pay, the employer must pay you the public holiday pay owing at the same time as your final wages. This will be within seven days after your employment ends or on your next pay day, whichever comes later.
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