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Do I have to work on public holidays?

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Do I have to work on public holidays?
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Ministry of Labour

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Do I have to work on public holidays?
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Reviewed: 
January 11, 2018
Answer

In most jobs, you have the right to get public holidays off work with holiday pay. Some people call them statutory holidays.

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has minimum standards that employers must follow. This includes rules about public holidays.

If the ESA rules about public holidays cover your job, they apply:

  • if you work full-time or part-time
  • no matter how long you've worked in the job
  • whether or not the public holiday falls on a day that you'd usually work

If a public holiday falls on a day that you don't usually work or when you’re on vacation, you get another day off with holiday pay.

For example, if you work Monday to Friday and July 1 is on a Saturday, your employer can decide that you'll get Monday, July 3 off with holiday pay.

Or, if you agree in writing, you can get holiday pay for the public holiday. In that case, you don't get another day off.

Getting another day off

If you work on a public holiday and get another day off, you have to get the other day off within 3 months of the holiday. Or, you can agree in writing to take the day off within 12 months of the holiday.

Before the public holiday, your employer has to tell you in writing:

  • the public holiday that you're working
  • the date you get a day off because you're working on the holiday
  • the date your employer is giving you this information in writing

Working on a public holiday

Some people have to work on public holidays. For example, you might have to work on a public holiday if you work in:

  • a hotel, motel, or tourist resort
  • a hospital or nursing home
  • a business that stays open for 24 hours each day over a period of 7 days

And if you don't have to work, you can agree to work on a public holiday. You would do this by putting it in writing for your employer.

There are special rules about getting paid for working on a public holiday.

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