Confused About Stat Holiday Pay?

One situation that my clients often ask me to clarify for them is to explain how to handle stat holidays and paying their employees and how to figure out what to pay them.  So I hope to share how I handle and interpret the Employment Standards Act of Ontario and to make it a little easier to comprehend. There seems to be a lot of confusion with regards to Statutory Holiday Pay if you have employees.  Many business owners think back to how they were paid for these holidays when they worked for someone else – which may be quite different from how it is handled today.

The Ontario Labour Board refers to these holidays as Public Holidays and they are as follows:   New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Boxing Day.

Please note that the Civic holiday in August is not considered a public holiday and you are not required to pay public holiday pay to your staff. Most employers do offer some kind of compensation to their staff of their own choice, not because they are legally required to do so.

Also please note that there are some industries with different rulings regarding overtime, premium pay, and public holiday pay – please refer to the Employment Standards Act for Ontario to ensure whether your industry has special rulings.

Every employee is entitled to Public Holiday Pay – full-time, part-time, casual, temporary, newly hired – every single employee! Some companies are not aware of these changes in how the statutory holidays are paid.  Previous to the Employment Standards Act revised in the year 2000 – which we are still following now – part-time employees were not entitled and any employee still within their probationary period did not have to be paid anything extra.

This new policy has made it fair across the board for all employees – no more part-timers or new hires always stuck working on the holidays because the company doesn’t have to pay them any extra and they don’t lose out on money that other employees would be receiving. Companies no longer have to track for the purpose of calculating statutory holiday pay, who was hired when and when they would qualify – very simply – everyone qualifies.

HOWEVER – the employee MUST work their regularly scheduled shift before and after the public holiday. For example – if the public holiday falls on a Monday and Mary is scheduled to work the Tuesday and Thursday before the holiday and the Wednesday and Friday after the holiday and works all of these shifts then she qualifies to receive public holiday pay. If Mary was to call in sick on the Thursday before the holiday but did work all the other shifts – she would NOT qualify to receive the public holiday pay. If the company cancels Mary’s shift on the Wednesday following – she would still qualify to receive the public holiday pay since it was the company changing her shift.

Also keep in mind that if an employee is required to work on the Public Holiday he/she is entitled to Premium Pay at a rate of 1.5 (time and a half) for their hours works – AS WELL AS – Public Holiday Pay. It is not and either/or situation – they get both. Salaried employees also have to be taken into consideration when calculating Public Holiday pay. General the formula will equate to a full day’s pay if it is being calculated on the regular hours – so salaried employees will still receive their full salary for this day.  What the employer must ensure is that they get paid at least what they should be. For example, if a salaried employee gets paid his regular 40 hours but requests an amount for vacation pay to be paid out to him rather than taking the vacation time – this adds to his earnings in that four week period and will change the amount he is owed for Public Holiday Pay.  So it is always best to include ALL employees in the calculation, figure out what the Public Holiday pay should be, then determine what the salaried employee earns in one day.  If the public holiday pay owing is less than the earnings – paying out the regular salary is fine – BUT if the public holiday pay owing is higher than the earnings would be then this amount must be paid to the employee.

Another aspect that can cause some confusion is how the amount is calculated. Even if you are a full time employee there is no guarantee that you are going to be paid for a full 8 hours of work for the Public Holiday. If you were sick or absent for other reasons for which you were not paid then this is going to adjust the amounts for the calculation. The 4 weeks prior to the Public Holiday need to be examined and totaled  – this includes regular only – not overtime and premium pay – then this amount is divided by 20.  Once this dollar amount is determined then 4%vacation pay is also added in to this amount.  If you are using a computerized program to calculate your payroll you may be able to set it up to calculate the 4% vacation pay on the Public Holiday payroll item.

When looking at the prior 4 weeks – this is not based on calendar weeks – it is based on the employer’s work week and the ending dates of the payroll period. For example, if  Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday and that company’s work week runs from Thursday to Wednesday. In this case, the four work weeks used to calculate public holiday pay are those four weeks counting backwards from the first Wednesday (the last day of the employer’s work week) before the day on which the public holiday falls.

So to review – the very basics – Statutory Holiday Pay is the same as Public Holiday Pay, Ontario has nine of these in the calendar year, every employee is entitled to receive Public Holiday Pay, it is based on the prior 4 weeks regular earnings divided by 20 then multiplied by 4%,and remember to include salaried employees. There is a lot more detailed information available at the Employment Standards website – – and please refer to this guide to ensure that you are following the correct rules pertaining to your specific industry.

I hope this assist in explaining how your company should be handling the Public Holidays in Ontario – If you still have questions feel free to contact me.

184 Responses to “Confused About Stat Holiday Pay?”

  1. Kathie says:

    I always seem to have this issue. How do you calculate holiday pay if 3 holidays occur in one payroll. We are on a bi-weekly payroll and it just happens that Christmas, boxing day and new years all fall into one payroll period. Do I have to calculate holiday pay for each separate holiday and add them together. Please help.

  2. Judy says:

    I worked on Dec20/13. I was expecting to go back to work Jan 6/14 but was told I was laid off. Am I entitled to any Stat Holiday pay for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years’ Day?

  3. Pat says:

    I just wondering that when did the new calculation of holiday pay start. Before not every employee quallified for holiday pay, currently, everybody will get pay for holiday pay. I did not follow the rule recently, so I did not know when they changed.

    Thank you


  4. Nic says:

    Hi, just a quick question. I was laid off Dec 20 and was wondering if I should have been paid stat holiday for the Christmas holiday as I have worked 15 out of 30 before that? I’m in BC.

  5. Mpeter says:

    Hi Kerri

    Here is my question. Scenario. employed full time (probationary period).

    Sick day taken on the Monday, Tuesday (Christmas Eve was pre arranged day off), Christmas/boxing day off, Worked on Friday the 27th

    Does the pre arranged day off on Christmas eve mean I don’t get stat holiday pay?

  6. Mrs. MBH says:

    My husband was hired to work at a factory through a temp agency for 90 days prio to the Christmas holidays and wound up being hired on by the actual factory that he was working at 3 weeks into the new year…

    He received his Christmas and Boxing day pay but never received his New Years pay. He worked his scheduled shifts before and after, as a matter of fact he has never been late or missed a shift since he started there 5 months ago… At the time of the missing pay he was being paid by the temp agency but had discovered that other workers that were employed by the factory were also missing pay, not just the stat pay but shifts they had worked…

    He has spoken with his supervisor and HR several times and all they keep saying is they don’t know what happened but once they figure it out they will pay him… I’ve never heard of a business doing that before.

    My question is should he be contacting the temp agency to see if they know what happened, like what course of action can he take that doesn’t risk his job?

  7. Susan says:

    Okay, here is a question I don’t think you have been asked. A small salary, plus draw plus commission. We have been told payment for stat holidays is
    on the small salary only.

  8. Daniel says:

    Hello Kerri,
    Excellent article and equally informative responses to questions. Thank you for your time and consideration. My question is in context of Holiday Pay / and days in lieu. Specifically, whether or not those hours are eligible for Vacation / Holiday pay as well. I live and work in Alberta. I receive regular pay for Holidays worked plus a day in lieu. I know that for all of my regular work hours (travel, training) I am entitled to calculated Holiday pay but what about Stat hours and Days in Lieu? I typically get paid out my vacation / holiday pay in a lump sum once per year; so I have regular hours rates of pay for Stat and Days in Lieu. Do they get included with my other regular hours? Are they both handled the same? I have 56 Stat hours and 48 Day in Lieu hours. Am I entitled to my Vacation pay % of these hours/monies? Again, Thank you for your time and consideration.

  9. I would have to say you probably would still be entitled to receive public holiday pay – you did come in to work – you just didn’t work all the hours you were scheduled for. It might be a fine line and they could argue that you you did not work your full shift – but I would argue that it was a situation beyond your control and you showed up as soon as you were able.

  10. Yes you would still have to pay them for both days – as long as they worked the scheduled shift both before and after both holidays.

  11. If it was actual vacation time that was used for that period I would check with the Ministry of Labour and get a ruling from them. I would be leaning towards answer yes you would have to pay for all three days if they worked their scheduled shifts before their vacation time and after their vacation time – but you might want to get the Ministry of Labour to absolutely clarify that since there is vacation involved.

  12. This would be dependant on how they are paid. If you are paying these ladies as employees – deducting payroll deductions and remitting then they would be eligible to receive public holiday pay. If you arr paying them as a cleaning crew with no deductions at all then there is no obligation to pay them public holiday pay. Public Holiday Pay only comes into play in an employer-employee scenario.

  13. It can be kind of tricky. Usually Christmas and Boxing Day will work out to be the same amount of money since they are right after one another. I would take the same dollar amount and pay that out for both days. I would then do a new calculation for New Year’s Day since this involves a different 4 week period of earnings.

  14. This would depend on the last day worked. If they posted your last day worked as December 20 then you would not be entitled to any public holiday pay. If they posted your last day of work as January 6 then you would be entitled to receive all three days. I would also consult with the Ministry of Labour in this regards to get a definite ruling with consideration of any notice or lack of notice you may have received in regards to the lay off.

  15. This ruling and calculation came into affect approximately 2001. A lot of people, even many years later, still think that part time employees don’t qualify and there is still a probationary period – but that is not the case and it has not been the case for quite some time.

  16. No – you should still receive stat holiday pay. If it was pre-arranged then you would not have been scheduled – the qualifications state that you must work your SCHEDULED shift both before and after the holiday.

  17. British Columbia rulings are not completely familiar to me – I know Ontario law much better. But I would not think you would qualify since your employement ended almost a week before the public holiday occurred. I will check into this further for you and if I find out anything different I will post another reply.

  18. You have been told incorrectly. Your salary is earnings but your commission is also earnings. The draw is just an advance payment on earnings. I deal with this quite a bit. You are entitled to stat holiday pay to be calculated on both your salary and your commissions earned in the 4 week period if you are in Ontario.

  19. I think your husband needs to get some clarification on who is required to pay him the public holiday pay. Since there was a switch over in terms of employment right around the same time as the stat holidays – he needs to get some clarification. If he is in Ontario and was still working for the temp agency until after New Year’s Day then the temp agency would be responsible for that payment. If he was hired on by the factory before the public holidays then the factory would be responsible for paying out whatever was owing to him. It really comes down to when he was switched from being on the temp agency’s payroll to the factory’s payroll.

  20. Thank you for the great question. At this time I am going to ask you give me some time to get back to you. I am not well versed in Alberta Labour Laws and I would like to look into this a bit further for you before I provide an answer. I thank you for your patience.

  21. Sebastien says:

    Hey, I have a question. I work overnight, does my holiday pay/stat pay rate begin as soon as midnight hits during my shift?

  22. Thank you for your question. I have encountered this situation before. It does not start at midnight – the date of your shift is considered when it started. So if your shift was from 8:00 pm until 4:00 am and STARTED at 8:00 pm on Good Friday – then your entire shift would be eligible for premium pay in addition to public holiday pay if you were a non-unionized worker working in Ontario. If your shift started at 8:00 pm on the Thursday before Good Friday you would not be entitled to premium pay – but you are still entitled to public holiday pay based on the calculation

  23. Mimi says:

    I work 80% of the week – Mon & Fri 50% – Tues, Wed, Thurs 100%
    That works out to be 8 days over two weeks. How would my statutory pay be calculated? Currently, I receive an annual salary that is prorated based on the 8 days. Each pay includes a vacation payout and statutory payout. Firstly, how is that possible?…some pays did not warrant a stat holiday. Secondly, how do I know if the stat rate is calculated correctly? Do the 50% days impact the stat rate?

  24. Thank you for your question and you are correct that working only partial days in a week even though you are on salary it does have an effect on your overall stat holiday pay. I do not know how your employer is calculating and paying out stat holiday pay on each paycheque – you are correct that not all pay periods would contain a public holiday that woudl require them to pay this out. That you would need to discuss with your employer to find out their reasoning behind this action.

    As for ensuring that you are earning what you should be earning for the public holidays you need to look at what your total regular earnings are in the four week period prior to the public holiday – most likely 2 paycheques and you want to look at the gross earnings or salaried earnings for that time period). Total these amounts up then divide them by 20. Because you are not working 100% of a work week then this amounts should not calculate to a regular days pay (if you worked 8 hours per day for 5 days a week it would equal the full amount of a full days pay).

    I hope this helps. If you have any further questions please let me know.

  25. Gracie says:

    I have been on unpaid sickleave for 3 weeks. Easter holiday is in the middle of this leave. I do have a Dr’s note. Is my employer required to pay me for this stat holiday? I live in Quebec. Thanks so much.

  26. djb says:

    What if an employee started the week of the holiday? i.e. Started on Monday and Friday was a holiday. There is no 4 weeks of history to calculate holiday pay. Is the employee entitled to holiday pay? If yes, how is it calculated.


  27. Shellie says:

    I have a client who has been told that if he pays his workers 8% vacation pay instead of 4%, he no longer has to pay for statutory holidays. I can not find this ruling in any of the Ontario Labour Law information, and I do not know where this information came from. Is this in fact correct?

  28. This does not sound correct to me at all considering that Vacation Pay and Public Holiday Pay are two completely different things. Companies can pay varying rates of vacation pay – this just increases the duration of vacation employees can earn – but this has no impact on the employees being paid for Public Holidays.

    If you are provided any type of applicable rulings – could you please forward them to me?

  29. Yes the employee is still entitled to Public Holiday pay and it would be calculated on the hours they worked the four days before the holiday. If they earned 10.25 per hour and worked 8 hours per day for 4 days their total earnings would be $328.00. Then this amount would be divided by 20 – $328.00/20 = $16.40 owing to them in Public Holiday Pay and this amount is subject to 4% vacation pay as well.

  30. I ams orry but I am not completely familiar with the rulings in Quebec but from the sounds of it you may bnot be entitled since you are on unpaid sick leave. If you were on paid sick leave that might mean something else.

    I would highly recommend you contact your employment standards office for Quebec and speak directly with them regarding your situation.

  31. Sam says:


    Quick question about calling in sick before a stat day ( Victoria Day). My boyfriend works weekends and was scheduled the Saturday and Sunday before the holiday Monday. He is also scheduled to work on the Monday.
    He has called in sick for the Sunday but is legitimately sick. So from what I understand he will still make premium pay on the Monday for his hours worked if he goes. Now, my question is, if he obtains a doctors note, would he then be eligible to receive his stat pay? I feel like there must be some sort of action that can be taken by those who miss a day for legitimate reasons (such as illness). There is a union at his work, would this be something union specific? Or are there broader rules?



  32. Thank you for the question. If you look at the very basics of this ruling he would not qualify. However, that does not mean that he could not approach his employer for a discussion on the situation of illness being just cause. Added to that he is unionized and a union has to minimally follow the Employment Standards Act but they can go above it. He should check with his collective agreement or union representative to find out how the have dealt with this situation – if it has been addressed at all.

  33. Ted says:

    I work in a 24hr call centre. We are required to bid for the holiday shift. Those with the least amount of seniority usually end up working the statutory holiday. Some of the shifts offered are 4 hr or 5 hrs. Our regualr shift is 8 hours. Can a Fulltime employee be scheduled to work a reduced shift on a statutory holiday?

  34. Tammy says:

    Hi – i have an employee who works 20hrs per week .. Tuesday and Wednesday – if a stat holiday falls on Monday or Friday is this person entitled to a day off? (They get paid 20hrs salary)

    thanks for your help, i find this so confusing

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