For Employers

BC’s Family Day Holiday on February 11, 2013: Are you aware of your pay obligations?

B.C.’s newest statutory holiday, Family Day, falls on Monday, February 11, 2013, and will take place on the second Monday in February every year thereafter.

Family Day joins British Columbia’s nine other statutory holidays, which are:

  • New Year’s Day;
  • Good Friday;
  • Victoria Day;
  • Canada Day;
  • BC Day;
  • Labour Day;
  • Thanksgiving Day;
  • Remembrance Day; and
  • Christmas Day.

The Employment Standards Act sets out specific requirements for when employees are entitled to receive additional pay on statutory holidays, aptly named “statutory holiday pay”.


Determining eligibility for statutory holiday pay

For employees to be eligible for statutory holiday pay, they must have been employed for 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday and have worked or earned wages on at least 15 of the 30 days immediately before the statutory holiday. If your employees are covered by an averaging agreement or a variance at any time in the 30 days before the statutory holiday, then your employees will not have to meet the 15-day requirement.

For a unionized work environment, you should make reference to the collective agreement. Under the Employment Standards Act, a union and an employer may negotiate their own matters with respect to statutory holidays. If there is nothing in the collective agreement negotiated with respect to statutory holidays, then the standard statutory holiday requirements in the Employment Standards Act may apply as discussed in this post.

It should also be noted that statutory holiday pay may not apply to certain groups excluded by regulation. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, managers, agricultural workers, some commission salespersons, and high technology professionals.


Calculating statutory holiday pay

Statutory holiday pay is based on an “average day’s pay”.  An employee’s average day’s pay is calculated by dividing the employee’s “total wages” earned in the 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday by the number of days the employee worked.

You should note that vacation days taken during the 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday is considered as days worked.

“Total wages” includes wages, commissions, statutory holiday pay and vacation pay but does not include overtime pay.

Payment requirements

If an employee is ineligible for statutory holiday pay, then you may pay your employee for work on the statutory holiday as if it were a regular work day.

For an employee who is eligible for statutory holiday pay, your employee must be paid an average day’s pay if either they are given a day off on a statutory holiday, or if the statutory holiday falls on the employee’s regular day off.

If an employee is eligible for statutory holiday pay, and required to work on the statutory holiday, then you must pay your employee time-and-a-half for the first 12 hours worked and double-time for any work over 12 hours, PLUS an average day’s pay on top of that.

Substituted days

If a statutory holiday falls at an inconvenient time, or if you’d like to move the statutory holiday to a more convenient date, then you should be aware that under section 48 of the Employment Standards Act, an employer and an employee can agree to substitute another day off for a statutory holiday. You can also substitute another day off for a statutory holiday if the majority of your employees agree to it. In either case, the statutory holiday pay requirements apply in the same manner for the substituted day.

Should you have questions regarding your obligations or an employee’s complaint related to Family Day, or another Statutory Holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This blog is produced by Waterstone Law Group LLP. This blog is intended for information purposes only and is not offered as legal advice for a specific claim. Subscription to or use of this site does not establish a solicitor – client relationship between the user and Waterstone Law Group LLP or any of the individual contributors. For advice relating to your employment law claim, please contact us to arrange for a consultation.

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