General holiday pay | fact sheet

General holiday pay | fact sheet

Most employees – full-time and part-time – are entitled to general (statutory) holidays with pay.

Check back for updates – new employment standards will come into effect on January 1, 2018. Read about the changes.

Basic rules

Alberta’s Employment Standards Code entitles most employees to general holidays and general holiday pay if they’ve worked for an employer for 30 days or more in the 12 months before a general holiday.

An employee is not eligible for holiday pay if the employee:

  • does not work on a general holiday when required or scheduled to do so, or
  • is absent without consent from the employer, on their last regular working day preceding, or first regular working day following, the general holiday

See the dates for Alberta’s annual general holidays.

Basic holiday pay rate

Employees eligible for general holiday pay must be paid an amount that’s at least the employee’s average daily wage, if:

  • a general holiday falls on a day that’s normally a work day for the employee
  • the employee does not work on that general holiday

Average daily wage

Average daily wage is defined as:

  • the employee’s regular wages divided by the number of regular days worked in the 9 weeks immediately preceding the general holiday. For employees who have worked less than 9 weeks, the average is calculated by dividing the employee’s regular wages by the number of regular days worked during the time the employee has been employed.

When a general holiday falls during a vacation

If an eligible employee is on vacation when a general holiday occurs, the employee can take off with pay the first scheduled working day after their vacation. Or, in agreement with their employer, they can take another day that would otherwise have been a work day, before their next annual vacation.

General holiday pay and overtime

When an employee works on a general holiday and is paid general holiday pay at least 1.5 times the employee’s wage rate, the hours worked on the holiday do not count when calculating overtime hours worked for the week in which the holiday falls.

See also the General Holiday Pay flowchart.

More details

Show Answer Employee eligibility

Basic eligibility

Most employees who’ve worked for an employer for at least 30 working days or more in the 12 months before the general holiday are eligible for general holiday pay.

An employee is not entitled to holiday pay when they:

  • don’t work on a general holiday when required or scheduled to do so, or
  • are absent from employment without consent of the employer, on the employee’s last regular working day preceding, or first regular working day following, the general holiday

Exempt occupations

The following employees aren’t eligible for general holidays and general holiday pay:

  • salespersons selling automobiles, recreational vehicles, trucks, buses, manufactured homes, farm machinery, and heavy-duty construction and road equipment
  • registered or licensed salespersons selling investments, stocks or bonds
  • authorized salespersons of real estate and salespersons selling homes for the builder of those homes
  • licensed insurance salespersons who are paid entirely by commission income
  • salespersons, other than route salespersons, who solicit orders principally outside the employer’s place of business and are paid in whole or in part by commission
  • farm and ranch workers
  • extras in a film or video production
  • counsellors or instructors at an educational or recreational camp that is operated on a charitable or not-for-profit basis for: children, handicapped individuals or religious purposes
  • salespersons who are at least 16 years old and are engaged in direct selling for licensed direct sellers

Construction workers

Due to the nature of the employment and work in the construction industry, construction employees are not usually given general holidays off with pay. Part 4 of the Regulation creates special rules for on-site construction workers. These rules provide a benefit equal to that of employees in other industries who are given a day off with pay for each general holiday.

Construction employee rules specify that:

  • there’s no qualifying period of employment for construction employees to be entitled to general holiday pay
  • construction employees are not entitled to additional pay for working on general holidays, or to these days off with pay
  • both full-time and part-time construction employees are entitled to general holiday pay equal to 3.6% of the employee’s wages
  • general holiday pay must be paid to construction employees:
    • on or before December 31 of each year
    • on termination of employment, or
    • with each pay cheque

Show Answer General holiday pay calculations

When an eligible employee works on a general holiday When an eligible employee does not work on a general holiday
Is it the employee’s normal day of work?
If yes, it is the employee’s normal day of work

The employer has 2 options:

Option 1:
Pay average daily wage plus 1.5 times employee’s wage rate for all hours worked.

Option 2:
Pay regular wages (and overtime, if applicable) plus provide a future day off with payment of average daily wage.

The employee is entitled to their average daily wage
If no, it is not the employee’s normal day of work
Employee is entitled to 1.5 times wage rate for all hours worked Employee is not entitled to any general holiday pay

Ineligible employee working on the general holiday

The day is treated as any other normal working day. Employee is paid at their regular rate of pay for all hours worked and, if applicable, overtime.

Ineligible employee not working on the general holiday

Employee is not entitled to receive pay for the holiday nor another day off with pay.

Employees who work irregular schedules

If an employee works an irregular schedule and there’s doubt about whether the holiday is a day on which the employee is normally scheduled to work, it should be resolved as follows:

  • If during at least 5 of the 9 weeks preceding the general holiday, the employee worked on the day of the week that the general holiday falls, the holiday is to be considered a day that would normally have been a work day for the employee

For employees paid by incentive pay plans

Basic rules

Incentive pay plans include commission and other plans such as flat rate, mileage or piecework compensation.

If an employee paid by incentive pay works on a general holiday, they’re entitled to their average daily wage plus 1.5 times the hourly wage.

If an employee paid by incentive pay does not work on the general holiday, they’re entitled to their average daily wage – the regular wages earned during the 9 weeks preceding the week in which the general holiday occurs, divided by the number of days worked in that period.

Calculating average hourly wage

To calculate the hourly wage for an employee paid by incentive pay, determine if the employee is paid entirely by commission or incentive pay, or if they also earn a salary:

  • if an employee is paid entirely on commission or other incentive-based pay, then, for the purpose of calculating pay for time worked on a general holiday, the employee’s wage rate is deemed to be the minimum wage
  • if an employee is paid partly by salary and partly by commission or other incentive-based pay, then, for the purpose of calculating pay for time worked on a general holiday, the employee’s wage rate is based on the salary component of the wages, if the salary component is greater than the minimum wage; if, however, the salary component is less than the minimum wage, then the salary component is deemed to be the minimum wage

Read more about Commission Pay Plans and Minimum Compensation Entitlement.

Show Answer General holidays owed at termination

Under the Code, general holidays can be postponed to a later date. If an employee’s employment is terminated before this holiday is taken, the following applies:

If the employer terminates the employment, the employee must receive:

  • an average daily wage, plus
  • 1.5 times the regular wage rate for all hours worked on the general holiday less any money previously paid for wages and overtime on the general holiday

If the employee quits, they will be paid the average daily wage for each general holiday deferred and still not taken.

See also Termination of employment.

Show Answer Definitions

Daily wage
The wage of an employee on a normal work day.

Hours of work
A period of time during which an employee works for an employer, and time off with pay instead of overtime pay provided by an employer and taken by an employee.

Wages
Includes salary, pay, money paid for time off instead of overtime pay, commission or incentive pay.

Wage rate
The hourly rate of pay for wages.

Work day
A 24-hour period ending at midnight, or a 24-hour period as established by the consistent practice of an employer.

Work week
The period between midnight on a Saturday and midnight on the following Saturday, or 7 consecutive days as established by the consistent practice of an employer.

Show Answer Self-assessment tool

Does your workplace comply with Alberta’s employment standards laws for general holidays? Use this online questionnaire to see if your business practices comply.

How the law applies

Part 2, Division 5 of the Employment Standards Code provides the general requirements and entitlement to general holidays and general holiday pay.

Part 4 of the Employment Standards Regulation provides different rules for general holidays and general holiday pay for construction employees.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.

Created:
Modified: 2017-08-23
PID: 15646

Contact Employment Standards

Call Employment Standards for information, or Ask a question online.

  • 780-427-3731 (Edmonton)
  • 1-877-427-3731 (toll-free)

View more contact options