Working on Statutory Holiday: Time and a Half Pay!

a worker writing something on a counter with a calendar that says holiday behind her

Canada has a statutory holiday for practically every month. February has Family Day, July has Canada Day, and there’s another day off for everyone at some point between the two. There are even unique holidays for individual provinces like BC Day. For some people, a holiday is a chance to take a break, for others it’s the time to take advantage of a little perk called “time and a half pay.”

What’s Time and a Half Pay?

While it would be ideal for every single person in Canada to have a day off on a holiday, it’s unfortunately not realistic. Imagine if there weren’t any buses running or if there weren’t any available paramedics. It would be a mess so many businesses stay open, which includes but not limited to grocery stores, restaurants, and hospitals or other health related occupations. In order to compensate for the labour, Canada offers time and a half which is when you’re paid one and a half of your salary. 

If your rate is $20/hr, you multiply that by 1.5

$20 x 1.5 = $30/hr

If you end up working an entire 8 hour shift you’ll get:

$30 x 8hrs = $240

Not Working on a Statutory Holiday

For some companies, you are obligated to take the day off and they will pay you anyways. This typically happens for full time jobs and larger businesses or corporations. They’ll give you the day’s worth in wages even if you didn’t come in to do anything. While this technically doesn’t make a difference in your paycheck at the end of the month, at least you get paid for a day off. Restaurants, shops, and other places that offer part time jobs don’t usually give this perk. Your job at Starbucks most likely won’t pay you for not working that holiday, but if you’re a writer for CBC, then you’ll get what’s called Stat Pay. 

Stat Pay is not the same as time and a half pay. Stat pay is how much you would have been paid on any regular day. For example, for a standard 8 hour day at $20/hr, you would receive $160. It would be the same for a stat holiday that you did not work.

Qualifying for Stat Pay

There is a basic criteria for receiving Stat Pay. It might differ between provinces, but in BC, the employee has to have been employed at their workplace for at least 30 days before they can receive Stat Pay. Within those 30 days, they have to have worked for 15 of those days. If you don’t meet the criteria, your employer is not obligated to pay you on statutory holidays. 

The Caveat

You’re probably seeing this and already planning to work on the next holiday. Before you call your employer, make sure that the holiday falls on a weekday. If it doesn’t, then you won’t receive time and a half pay. For example, working on Easter Sunday won’t get you extra pay, but if you work on Easter Monday, you’ll get a higher hourly wage for that shift. 

The List of Statutory Holidays to Make Note of

  • Christmas Day – December 25
  • Boxing Day – December 26
  • New Years Day – January 1
  • Family Day – 2nd Monday of February
  • Good Friday* – A day between March 22 and April 25
  • Easter Monday* – A day between March 22 and April 25
  • Victoria Day – 3rd Monday of May
  • Canada Day – July 1
  • Labour Day – 1st Monday of September
  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30
  • Thanksgiving – 2nd Monday of October
  • Remembrance Day – November 11

**Good Friday and Easter Monday happen according to the lunar calendar. The Friday and Sunday after the first full moon of spring is when it is celebrated in Canada. Spring starts on March 21st.

This isn’t an exhaustive list as each province and territory has its own special holidays. Some of the holidays don’t even have their own set date and you have to be aware of when they happen.

Why International Students Should Take Advantage of Stat Holidays

The greatest advantage that working on a Statutory holiday gives to international student is that it doesn’t break the 20 hour limit per week. Perhaps you’ve felt limited by this and you want to make more income, but you can’t. Now working on a Stat allows you to work while staying within the time limit and receiving time and a half pay. You may even be doing someone a favour by taking their shift during a stat holiday.

Getting paid extra is always a lovely treat. Even so, make sure to take care of yourself. If you need a rest day or a day to catch up on studies, take advantage of the holiday that way too. 

Source: List of Stat Holidays Calculating Holiday Pay Qualifying for Stat Pay

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