If a statutory holiday falls on a weekend, then employers have to give their employees another day off with pay.
Likewise, if a statutory holiday falls on a day that is not normally worked by employees (even if it is not a weekend), then employers similarly have to give those employees another day off with pay.
See all of Ontario’s statutory holidays here.
Section 29 of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) sets out an employee’s entitlement when a statutory holiday falls on a weekend or a day that is not ordinarily the employee’s working day or is during the employee’s vacation. Essentially, Section 29 of the ESA covers any situation in which a statutory holiday occurs, but an employee was not supposed to work that day anyway.
As per Section 29 of the ESA, when a statutory holiday falls on a weekend or a day that is not ordinarily the employee’s working day or is during the employee’s vacation, the employee must be given a substitute day off, which shall be:
- Scheduled for a day that would ordinarily be a working day for the employee;
- Paid as public holiday pay; and
- Scheduled for a day no more than three months after the statutory holiday or no more than twelve months after the statutory holiday only if the employee agrees.
It is the employer’s choice as to when an employee gets a substitute day off following a holiday occurring on a weekend or some other non-working day. However, as discussed above, an employee must agree with the employer’s choice of the day off if the day off is to take place three months or longer after the holiday.
Substitute holidays are never a problem on Victoria Day. The Victoria Day holiday is always the first Monday immediately preceding May 25. The same applies to several other holidays in Ontario (see the list of holidays here).
Practically, almost all employers in Ontario outside of the retail and hospitality industry provide their employees with a day off the Friday before a statutory holiday (the ESA allows employers to substitute a holiday with a day off before a holiday) or the Monday after the statutory holiday. For example, if New Years Day is a Saturday (as it was the year this blog post was published), most employers will give their employees a holiday on Monday, January 3.
It is unfortunate when a holiday lands in the middle of the week. Most people do not want to return to work for just one day on a Friday immediately after Canada Day if Canada Day takes place on a Thursday, for example. However, employers are within their rights to require employees to work a Friday in a broken-up holiday week.
Do employees get paid on holidays?
Employees get paid “Public Holiday Pay” for statutory holidays. It would not be a holiday if people were not paid because many people would have no choice but to work the holiday because they need or want the money.
How much is Public Holiday Pay?
Practically, public holiday pay is the normal pay that an employee would have earned had there been no holiday and the employee worked that day.
Technically, and for people with irregular pay, the amount of public holiday pay to which an employee is entitled is calculated as follows:
“All of the 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 concerning the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday divided by 20.”https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/00e41#BK47
In other words, Ontario employees get the day off on statutory holidays (or a substitute day as per the above discussion), but they still must be paid like normal.
How much is an employee paid if they work a holiday?
If an employee chooses to work a holiday or is required to work a holiday, then they must earn:
- Their regular rate for hours worked on the public holiday, plus a substitute day off work with Public Holiday Pay; or
- Public holiday pay plus premium pay for each hour worked. Premium pay is 1½ times an employee’s regular rate of pay for each hour worked.
Jeff is an employment lawyer in Toronto. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law and is the author of an employment law textbook and various trade journal articles.