The Ontario Employment Standards Act details employers’ responsibilities with respect to public holidays. As an employer, if you have hired one or more employees, consult this law and seek legal advice as required.
In most cases, employers in Ontario are required to provide employees with public holidays, which are separate from vacations. Some businesses operate in jobs and industries that are not covered by public holiday provisions, so make sure you understand who qualifies, how payments are calculated and what the rules are.
Employers need to know that most employees are entitled to receive time off with pay on the following public holidays:
Some employers provide additional days off, such as Easter Monday or Remembrance Day. However, these holidays are optional and not a common practice among small organizations.
Employees will generally qualify for public holiday pay, unless:
If employees fail to qualify for the public holiday, they must still be paid premium pay for all hours worked on the public holiday.
Qualified employees can be full-time, part-time, permanent, contract or students. It does not matter how long they have held their job, or how many days they worked before the public holiday.
The Ontario Employment Standards Act indicates that employees who qualify for public holidays should be given these days off with pay. However, work is not actually prohibited on public holidays. Employees can agree to work on the holiday and receive:
Regular full-time employees are to be paid their regular day’s wages for a public holiday, and vacation continues to be earned on the public holiday.
To calculate public holiday pay for someone who is not a full-time employee:
All dates and statistics sourced in March 2014 from the Ontario Employment Standards Act.
Ontario Ministry of Labour. (n.d.). Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/guide/publicholidays.php.