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Are your employees entitled to general holiday pay?

Your employees are asking for their holiday pay — but are they eligible? The Alberta Employment Standards Code lists nine official general holidays, also known as statutory holidays. These are:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Alberta Family Day (Third Monday in February)
  • Good Friday (Friday before Easter, usually late March or early April)
  • Victoria Day (Monday before May 25)
  • Canada Day (July 1, except when it falls on a Sunday, then it is July 2)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Second Monday in October)
  • Remembrance Day (November 11), and
  • Christmas Day (December 25).

The Code allows you and your employees to designate any other day as a general holiday by mutual agreement. As an employer, you can designate any other day as a general holiday if you want to, under the Code. For example, many employers designate Boxing Day, Easter Monday and Alberta Heritage Day as additional general holidays for their employees. If you are one of those employers, all rules pertaining to general holiday pay will apply.

Who is eligible for general holiday pay?

With the exception of employees who work in specified industries and professions, most Alberta employees are entitled to general holidays and general holiday pay. The basic criteria for general holiday pay eligibility are as follows:

  • the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 30 working days in the year before the holiday,
  • the employee must have worked their last scheduled shift before, and the first scheduled shift after, the holiday (note that employees will still be eligible if they have the employer’s permission to be absent for either or both of these shifts), and
  • the employee must not have refused to work on the general holiday when asked to do so.

Pay for general holiday – Not worked

If an employee who is not normally scheduled to work on the general holiday does not work, they are not entitled to receive pay for the holiday nor another day off with pay unless you designate another day as a general holiday.

Because of the nature of employment in the construction industry, there is no requirement for construction employers to provide their employees with general holidays. They are, however, entitled to general holiday pay in an amount that is at least 3.6% of their wage.

To learn more, see the General Holidays and General Holiday Pay Fact Sheet.