Does my employer have to pay me for public holidays?

In most jobs, you have the right to get the day off with .

In Ontario, there are 9 public holidays each year. Some people call these “stat holidays”.

New Year's Day January 1
Family Day third Monday in February
Good Friday Friday before Easter Sunday (falls either in March or April)
Victoria Day Monday before May 25
Canada Day July 1
Labour Day first Monday in September
Thanksgiving Day second Monday in October
Christmas Day December 25
Boxing Day December 26

Who can get holiday pay

Ontario's (ESA) has rules about holiday pay. See Step 1.

If the holiday pay rules in the ESA 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

“Last and first” rule

To get holiday pay you must work your last scheduled work day before the holiday and your first scheduled work day after the holiday, unless you couldn't work for a reason that was beyond your control. For example, being sick or injured might be a good enough reason. Your employer can ask you to show why you missed work.

Agreeing to work on a public holiday

If your employer asks, you can agree in writing to work on a holiday and get paid in either of these ways:

  • You can get holiday pay plus . Premium pay is 1.5 times your regular rate of pay.
  • You can get your regular pay and another day off with holiday pay.

But even if you have an agreement, you will get only premium pay for working on a holiday if you do not meet the “last and first” rule, explained above.

Having to work on a public holiday

If you have to work on the holiday because of the kind of job you have, your employer decides if:

  • You get holiday pay plus premium pay. Premium pay is 1.5 times your .
  • You get your regular pay and another day off with holiday pay.

For example, if the job you have is in a restaurant or a hospital, you might have to work on a public holiday.

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
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