General Holidays and General Holiday Pay

General Holidays and General Holiday Pay

The Employment Standards Code of Alberta designates the following nine days as general holidays in Alberta:

General Holiday

Definition of Holiday



New Year’s Day

January 1

January 1

January 1

Alberta Family Day

Third Monday in February

February 20

February 19

Good Friday

Friday before Easter*

April 14

March 30

Victoria Day

Monday before May 25

May 22

May 21

Canada Day

July 1, except when it falls on a Sunday, then it is July 2

July 1

July 1

Labour Day

First Monday in September

September 4

September 3

Thanksgiving Day

Second Monday in October

October 9

October 8

Remembrance Day

November 11

November 11

November 11

Christmas Day

December 25

December 25

December 25

*Good Friday is a movable religious holiday falling on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

The Code also recognizes any other day designated as a general holiday by an employer. For example, many employers have, by agreement, designated Boxing Day, Easter Monday and Alberta Heritage Day as additional general holidays for their employees. If an employer designates one of these days as a general holiday, all rules pertaining to general holiday pay will apply. Employees should confirm this and any pay entitlements with their employer.

Here is a table of some of the optional holidays.

Optional Holiday

Definition of Holiday



Easter Monday

First Monday following Easter

April 17

April 2

Heritage Day

First Monday in August

August 7

August 6

Boxing Day

December 26

December 26

December 26

Eligibility 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 general holiday,
  • the employee must have worked their last scheduled shift before, and the first scheduled shift after, the holiday (note that employees will remain 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.

Employees may need to meet other eligibility requirements before qualifying for a particular paid general holiday. Eligibility requirements are outlined in the Code.

If you work an irregular schedule and are not sure if general holiday is considered a normal work day, call the Employment Standards Contact Centre at 780-427-3731 or 1-877-427-3731.

Because of the nature of employment in the construction industry, there is no requirement on 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 per cent of their wage.

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

Modified: 2017-01-18
PID: 1472

Contact Employment Standards

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

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

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