Holiday Pay

Holiday Pay : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights

The Labour Standards Code gives employees who qualify six holidays with pay: New Year’s Day, Nova Scotia Heritage Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day, and Christmas Day.

Note: A separate law covers Remembrance Day; it is explained at the end of this information sheet.

 

 

Qualifying for Paid Holidays

To have a day off with pay for these holidays, an employee must:

  • be entitled to receive pay for at least 15 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday and
  • have worked on his/her last scheduled shift or day before the holiday and on the first scheduled shift or day after the holiday
First, during the 30 calendar days right before the holiday, the employee must be entitled to receive pay for 15 of those days. This does not mean that the employee must have worked 15 out of 30 days. The important words to remember are “entitled to receive pay.” For example, if an employee is sick and the employer has a paid sick time policy, or if the employee is attending a course and is being paid wages for attending, the employee may still qualify for the paid holiday.

Second, the employee must have worked on his/her last scheduled shift or day before the holiday and on the first scheduled shift or day after the holiday. The important word to remember is “scheduled.” Many people believe this means that if the employee does not work the day after the holiday then the employee does not qualify to receive holiday pay. If the day is one when the employee is not scheduled to work, then he/she may still qualify for the paid holiday.

Note:  If an employer tells an employee not to report for work on his/her last scheduled work day immediately before the holiday, or the next scheduled work day after the holiday, then the employee is still entitled to receive holiday pay if he/she meets the first qualification.

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Paying an Employee for a Holiday

If an employee qualifies for the holiday and is given the day off, the employer must pay a regular day’s pay for that holiday. If the employee’s hours of work change from day to day, or if wages change from pay to pay, the employer should average hours or wages over 30 days to calculate

what to pay the employee for the holiday.  For example, if an employee worked 20 of the 30 calendar days before the holiday for a total of 170 hours, the calculations would be as follows:  170 ÷ 20 = 8.5 average hours worked per shift.

If the holiday falls on an employee’s regular day off, the employee is entitled to another day off with pay.

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Calculating Holiday Pay When the Employee Works on a Holiday

An employee who works on a holiday and who qualifies to be paid holiday pay is entitled to receive both of the following:

  • the amount the employee would have normally received for that day and
  • one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of  wages for the number of hours worked on that holiday

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When the Employee Works in a Continuous Operation

Employees who work in a continuous operation can be paid for holidays in a different way.  A continuous operation is:

  • any industrial establishment in which production continues without stopping
  • any service that runs trucks and other vehicles
  • any telephone or other communications service
  • any service or production in which employees normally work on Sundays or public holidays
In a continuous operation, the employer can pay for holidays worked in one of two ways:
  • according to the calculation already described or
  • by paying straight time for the hours worked and giving the employee another day off  with pay
Note:  An employee in a continuous operation will not be entitled to holiday pay if he/she does not report for work on the holiday after being called upon to work that day.

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Employees Not Covered by the Rules

The holiday pay rules do not apply to the following employees:
  • employees who work under a collective  agreement
  • most farm employees
  • real estate and car salespeople
  • commissioned salespeople who make sales at locations other than at the employer’s premises, except those on an established route
  • employees who work on a fishing boat
  • employees who work in the manufacturing or refining processes of the petrochemical industry
  • employees who do domestic service for or give personal care to an immediate family member in a private home and are working for the householder
  • employees who do domestic service for or give personal care in a private home and are working for the householder for 24 hours or less per week

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Remembrance Day

An employee who works on Remembrance Day and who is entitled to receive wages for at least 15 of the 30 calendar days immediately before Remembrance Day may be entitled to receive another day off with pay. That day with pay may be taken at the end of the employee’s vacation or any other day the employee and employer may agree upon.

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