The ESA provides for nine public holidays:
*Note: Family Day is a public holiday falling on the third Monday in February.
Most employees qualify for public holidays. You can check if you are covered.
If you qualify, you're entitled to take public holidays off work and be paid public holiday pay. Or you can agree in writing to work on the public holiday and you will be paid:
To determine public holiday pay, add all of the regular wages earned and all of the vacation pay payable to you in the four work weeks ending just before the work week with the public holiday. Divide this sum by 20.
Premium pay is at least 1½ times an employee's regular rate of pay. Employees who are entitled to receive premium pay for work on a public holiday must be paid at least 1½ times their regular rate of pay for each hour they work.
Some employers give their employees a holiday for other days such as Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, the first Monday in August or Remembrance Day.
However, these days are not public holidays under the ESA.
If you perform more than one kind of work for your employer, some of this work might be the type that is covered by the public holiday part of the ESA, while another kind of work might be the type that is exempt from public holiday coverage.
If you perform both kinds of work, exempt and covered, you are eligible for the public holiday entitlement if at least half of the work performed in the work week of the public holiday is work that is covered.
Qualified employees can be full-time, part-time, permanent or on a term contract. You can also be a student. Generally, it doesn't matter how recently you have been hired, or how many days you worked before the public holiday.
There are ways in which you can lose your entitlement to a public holiday off with public holiday pay. For example, if you:
Note: In most cases, employees who lose their entitlement for one or both of the reasons described above would still be entitled to premium pay for any hours they actually worked on the public holiday.
The last regularly scheduled day of work before and the first regularly scheduled day of work after the public holiday are the last and first days. However, the last and first regularly scheduled days of work before and after the public holiday do not have to be the days right before and right after the holiday.
For example, you might not be scheduled to work the day right before or after the holiday. As long as you work all of your last regularly scheduled shift before the holiday and all of the first one after it, or provide reasonable cause for not working either of those days, you meet the qualifying criterion of the last and first rule.
If, for example,
you regularly work Monday through Friday and a public holiday falls on a Friday and your workplace closes down for that day, and
then your last regularly scheduled work day before the holiday is actually considered to be the Wednesday and you will qualify for the paid public holiday, as long as you work that day and the Monday after the public holiday (or have reasonable cause for failing to do so).
If, for example,
then your regularly scheduled shift before the public holiday is Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (rather than 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. because your employer has agreed to the shift ending at 3 p.m.). Having worked 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday you will qualify for the paid public holiday, assuming you also work your regularly scheduled shift on the day following the public holiday (which is the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift on Monday), or have reasonable cause for failing to do so.
Assume you are on vacation from June 25 to July 9 and the Canada Day public holiday fell on July 1. If you have worked all of your regularly scheduled shift both before and after your vacation or you have reasonable cause for failing to do so, you will qualify for the paid public holiday.
If there is a public holiday on a Monday, and your workplace is closed for the holiday, but you failed to work either all of your last scheduled shift before the holiday or all of your first regularly scheduled shift after the holiday, without reasonable cause, your employer does not have to pay you for the holiday.
When a public holiday falls on a day that isn't ordinarily your working day, or during your vacation, you can get either:
a substitute holiday with public holiday pay. (This substitute day off must be scheduled for a day that is no later than three months after the public holiday, or, if you agreed in writing, the substitute day off can be scheduled up to 12 months after the public holiday)
Some employees are required to work on a public holiday, either because:
Special rules apply to employees who work in the following types of businesses:
If you work in any of these businesses, you can be required to work on a public holiday, without your agreement, if the holiday falls on a day that you would normally work and you are not on vacation. If you are required to work, you are entitled to either:
Your employer chooses which option will apply.
If you were supposed to be given a substitute public holiday off with pay but your job ended before it was taken, your employer must pay you public holiday pay for the public holiday at the same time it pays your final wages. See Pay
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