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Do you know how to pay your employees for Public Holidays?

The province of Ontario has nine public holidays that most employees are entitled to:

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Family Day (third Monday in February)
  • Good Friday
  • 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)

Am I required to close my business for Civic Day/Simcoe Day?

Civic Day/Simcoe Day- (first Monday in August)  is not a Public Holiday under Employment Standards legislation or under the Business Retail Holidays Act; but Canada Post, libraries, government ministries and some businesses do close on that day.

If you have previously honoured Simcoe day as a public holiday, and are looking to stop, please get in touch with a business resources counsellor who can walk you through the necessary steps.

How does an employee qualify for Public Holiday Pay?

To collect public holiday pay, employees must have worked the last regularly scheduled day/shift before the holiday and the first regularly scheduled day/shift after the holiday.

What is the public holiday formula?

On May 7, 2018, the Ontario government announced that they would be reverting to the "old" statutory holiday pay formula effective July 1, 2018.

  • Before July 1, 2018: In order to calculate your employees' public holiday pay; take all regular wages earned by the employee in the pay period before the public holiday, divided by the number of days the employee worked in that period.
  • After July 1, 2018: In order to calculate your employees' public holiday pay; take the regular wages over the last four weeks before the holiday and divide by 20.

What if I require my employee to work on a holiday?

Your employee can agree electronically or in writing to work on the holiday and be paid:

  • their regular wages for all hours worked on the public holiday and receive another substitute holiday for which they must be paid public holiday pay. Regular wages does not include overtime pay, termination pay, severance and premium pay, termination of assignment pay (for temporary help agency employees) personal emergency leave pay, domestic or sexual violence leave pay or pay for other holidays.

or

  • public holiday pay plus premium pay for all hours worked on the public holiday and not receive another day off (called a “substitute” holiday)

What if my employee does not work on a day a public holiday falls on?

A public holiday may fall on a day your employee is not scheduled to work, these holidays must be given on a substitute week day. 

Your employee is entitled to:

  • a substitute holiday off with public holiday pay;

or

  • public holiday pay for the public holiday, if the employee agrees to this electronically or in writing (in this case, the employee will not be given a substitute day off).

Note:

  • Your employee is entitled to a substitute holiday within three months after the public holiday unless the employee agrees electronically or in writing, that the substitute day off is scheduled up to 12 months after the public holiday.
  • If an employee receives a substitute holiday, you must: inform the employee before the holiday by a written statement that contains the public holiday that is being substituted, the date of the substitute holiday, and the date that the statement given to the employee.

Is vacation pay used when calculating public holiday pay?

Yes, if vacation pay was received by the employee in the four work weeks prior to the public holiday, it is used to calculate public holiday pay. This may include paid vacation time or 4-6% vacation pay on every cheque or vacation pay in either a portion or a lump sum.  

The Ministry of Labour offers a public holiday pay calculator for your convenience

Am I required to close my business for Civic Day/Simcoe Day?

Civic Day/Simcoe Day- (first Monday in August)  is not a Public Holiday under Employment Standards legislation or under the Business Retail Holidays Act; but Canada Post, libraries, government ministries and some businesses do close on that day.

Other useful information: