General Holidays & General Holiday Pay

Which days are general (statutory) holidays in Alberta?

There are nine statutory holidays:

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

My boss gives Boxing Day as a holiday. Isn’t that a statutory holiday?

No, boxing day is not a general holiday. However, an employer can designate another additional day as a general holiday by agreement with his employees. Any day designated by agreement will be subject to the same rules as the nine statutory holidays.

I just started a new job last week. My supervisor told me that I cannot get paid for Family Day, which falls next week. Is this right?

Yes. You have to work for the same employer for 30 working days in the last 12 months before the general holiday in order to earn that holiday. You must also have worked your last scheduled shift before and the first scheduled shift after the holiday (you will still be eligible if you have your employer’s permission to be absent for either or both of these shifts), and not refused to work on the general holiday when asked to do so.

I work Monday to Thursday every week. Will I get paid for Good Friday?

No. You will not receive pay for that day because Friday is not a normal working day for you. You are only entitled to have a general holiday off with pay if it is a normal working day for you.

Which employees are not covered by the Employment Standards Code provisions relating to general holidays and general holiday pay?

Those not covered:

  • farm and ranch workers;
  • employees covered by other acts (for example, lawyers, academic staff);
  • salespersons of automobiles, trucks, buses, farm machinery, road construction equipment, heavy-duty equipment, mobile homes, or residential homes;
  • salespersons who solicit orders, principally outside of the employer’s place of business, who are fully or partly paid by commission (this does not apply to route salespersons);
  • licensed salespersons of real estate, insurance (when paid entirely by commission), and securities;
  • salespersons for licensed direct sellers over the age of 16;
  • extras in a video or film production;
  • instructors or counsellors at a non-profit educational or recreational camp for children or handicapped persons or operated for religious purposes.

I went away for the Family Day long weekend and did not get back in time to go to work on Tuesday. I did not phone in and now my boss says I cannot get paid for the holiday. Is that right?

Yes. Your boss does not have to pay you for the holiday if you are away from the job without his consent on the last working day before or the first working day after the holiday.

He also does not have to pay you if you do not work on a holiday when you have been asked or scheduled to do so.

What am I entitled to be paid if I take a holiday that I would normally work?

You are entitled to your average daily wage. The average is worked out by taking your regular wages for the last nine weeks before the holiday and dividing that by the number of days you worked in that time.

I work in a restaurant from Monday to Friday and I always work on a general holiday. Am I entitled to more than my normal wage for that day?

Yes. Because you are working on a holiday that would be a normal workday for you, your employer can either:

  • pay you your average daily wage plus one and a half times your regular wage rate for every hour you work that day, or
  • pay you your regular wage plus any overtime and give you a holiday with pay on another normal working day before your next annual vacation. The holiday must be taken on a day you would normally work.

I have only worked for my boss for one week, but I told him I would work on Family Day (which is next Monday). Will I get paid time and a half as well as my normal wage?

No. Under the Employment Standards Code (see link below), you are only entitled to be paid your normal wage because you have not worked for your boss for 30 working days before the holiday. Your boss might agree to pay you more but the law does not oblige him to do so.

I usually work in a restaurant from Monday to Thursday. My boss has asked me to come in this Friday, which is a general holiday. How much will I get paid?

As a basic minimum, the law requires that you be paid one and a half times your wage rate for every hour you work. This is because you are working on a general holiday on a day that you would not normally work.

I work part-time hours. Do I qualify for general holiday pay?

Yes. As long as you have worked for your employer for 30 working days in the last 12 months before the holiday and you are covered by the Employment Standards Code (see link below), you will be entitled to general holiday pay.

I get paid by commission and I am working on a general holiday. How will I be paid for the holiday?

If you are paid entirely by commission, your pay for a general holiday (wages plus time and a half) is calculated based on the current minimum wage rates. If you are paid partly by commission and partly by salary, your pay for a general holiday is based upon whatever is the higher — the salary part of your earnings or the current minimum wage.

I am entitled to be paid for general holidays. I am taking a vacation that will include Remembrance Day. Will I be able to take the general holiday another day?

Yes. You can take the day on the first scheduled day of work after your vacation, or take it on another day before your next annual vacation in agreement with your employer.

Our boss wants us to consider working on Remembrance Day and taking Boxing Day as a holiday instead. Can we do this?

Yes. It is possible to substitute another day for a general holiday. Your boss must be sure that employees are clearly informed, preferably in writing, before the change and that no employees lose any general holiday entitlements due to the change.


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