Wow! How time has flown by this month. We are just over a week away from Christmas Day! With that comes the question about holiday pay for your employees.
We all know that Christmas Day is a statutory (general) holiday across the country, but what about Boxing Day? Under the Employment Standards Code, Christmas Day is recognized as a general holiday, however, Boxing Day is NOT. But be careful…
Under the Employment Standards code, the following days are recognized as general (or STAT) holidays:
- New Years Day – Jan 1
- Alberta Family Day – Third Monday in February
- Good Friday – Varies with the religious calendar
- Victoria Day – Monday immediately preceding May 25
- Canada Day – July 1 (when it falls on a Sunday the STAT is on Monday)
- Labour Day – First Monday in September
- Thanksgiving Day – Second Monday in October
- Remembrance Day – Nov 11
- Christmas Day – Dec 25
Easter Monday, Heritage Day (in August) and Boxing Day are not recognized as general holidays in Alberta. However – and this is the “Be Careful” part – an employer can designate these or any other day as a General Holiday in addition to the 9 holidays listed above. If an employer does so, the extra holiday(s) shall be paid in exactly the same way as the legislated holidays. If an employer at any time wants to revoke an “extra” holiday, employees must be notified (preferably in writing) prior to the pay period in which the holiday falls.
In other words if, as an employer, you say to your employees “We are closing because it is Boxing Day”, then you must pay them as though it is a STAT holiday. If you tell them you are changing your hours this week and you have decided to be closed on that day, then you have not designated it as a holiday. It’s a very fine line – isn’t it?
If you have always paid your employees the General Holiday pay for Boxing Day and you choose not to this year, then they need to be informed in writing in the pay period prior – so unfortunately, I may have posted this too late for some of you – sorry!
Another popular question around General Holidays is who qualifies for the STAT pay?
- First – an employee must have worked for you for 30 days in the previous 12 months (they do not need to be consecutive days – just 30 sometime throughout the year)
- If the holiday falls on a regular day of work
- If your employee works on the General Holiday
- If your employee has an irregular schedule, it can be difficult to determine whether the holiday falls on a regular working day. The way to make that determination is to look back at the last 9 weeks. If the employee has worked any 5 of the same day as the holiday falls in the last 9 weeks, then he is entitled to receive holiday pay. For example, with Christmas Day being on a Wednesday this year, if your employee has worked any 5 of the last 9 Wednesdays, then you must pay them Holiday Pay.
- There are many other rules regarding qualification, holidays worked, holidays not worked, calculating average daily wage for the holiday etc. Please refer to http://humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/General-Holidays-and-General-Holiday-Pay.pdf for more information.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! Enjoy your holidays 🙂