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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STATUTORY HOLIDAYS

There are ten statutory holidays in British Columbia.

New Year’s Day
Family Day
Good Friday
Victoria Day
Canada Day
BC Day
Labour Day
Thanksgiving Day
Remembrance Day
Christmas Day

In 2017, statutory holidays fall on the following days.

New Year’s Day                 Sunday, January 1st
Family Day                         Monday, February 13th
Good Friday                       Friday, April 14th
Victoria Day                       Monday, May 22nd
Canada Day                      Saturday, July 1st
BC Day                              Monday, August 7th
Labour Day                        Monday, September 4th
Thanksgiving Day             Monday, October 9th
Remembrance Day           Saturday, November 11th
Christmas Day                  Monday, December 25th

Canada Day is usually July 1st.  If July 1st falls on a Sunday, Monday, July 2nd replaces July 1st as the statutory holiday.

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon on or following March 21st, or one week later if the full moon falls on a Sunday.

Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.  Although not mandatory, some employers provide for these days as holidays.

Who is eligible for statutory holiday pay?

To be eligible for statutory holiday pay, an employee must meet the following:

  • have been employed for 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday AND
  • have worked or earned wages for 15 of the 30 days immediately before the statutory holiday

Employees working under an averaging agreement or variance at anytime during the 30 day period before the holiday do not have to meet the 15 day requirement.

Employees not eligible for statutory holiday pay are not entitled to be paid an average day’s pay. If an employee not entitled to statutory holiday pay works on a statutory holiday, he/she is paid as if it were a regular work day.

For each pay that includes a statutory holiday, it is important to asses each employee’s eligibility for statutory holiday pay. Not all employees work full time and in many cases the number of days worked vary from one pay period to the next. It is common that employees who normally work 2 or 3 days per week be called to work extra shifts in 30 day periods prior to statutory holidays, especially during the summer months and 30 day periods leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Day. Assuming all part-time employees are ineligible for statutory holiday pay may lead to failure to comply with the Employment Standards Act.

How is statutory holiday pay determined?

If an employee is given a day off on a statutory holiday or the holiday falls on a regular day off, the employee is entitled to an average day’s pay.

Average day’s pay is calculated by dividing the total wages earned in the 30 day period before the holiday by the number of days worked in the 30 day period. Vacation days taken during the 30 day period count as days worked. Total wages used to calculate average day’s pay include regular wages, commission, statutory holiday pay and vacation pay. Overtime pay is not included.

If an employee works on a statutory holiday, he/she is entitled to be paid an average day’s pay PLUS time and a half for the first 12 hours and double time for any work over 12 hours.

For example, an employee works on a statutory holiday for 14 hours and normally works 40 hours per week, 5 days per week. The employee receives 8 hours average day’s pay, 12 hours time-and-a-half, and 2 hours double time.

Can another day off be substituted in lieu of a statutory holiday?

Section 48 of the BC Employment Standards Act allows for substitution of another day off in lieu of a statutory holiday.

An employer, with the agreement of an employee or the majority of employees, may substitute another day off in lieu of a statutory holiday.  In the case of more than one employee, the majority of employees, at least 50%, must agree to the substitution. Employees under this agreement working on a statutory holiday are paid regular wages for all hours worked.

An employer must not unduly influence an employee’s wishes when scheduling another day off.

For further information on statutory holiday regulations, you can contact the BC Employment Standards Branch or visit the BC Employment Standards Branch website at www.labour.bc.ca/esb/.

Posted by Lindsay Macintosh, February 13, 2017