General Holidays 101


A general holiday is better known as a statutory holiday. These are nine days during the calendar year that employees are entitled to have off with pay. This entitlement is part of the Canada Labour Code.

As a new business owner, or a small business owner that is starting to hire staff, you may have some questions about handling general holidays. Today we will go over the basics of your duties as an employer and what your staff can expect.

What are the general holidays

The nine general holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

My staff are part time. Are they entitled to the holiday?

The Labour Code makes no distinction between a full time or a part time employee for general holidays. However, while part time staff may take the holiday with pay, their pay is proportional to their working hours. A part time employee would not receive the same holiday pay as a full time employee.

We are too busy to take general holidays off

Unless your product or service is a matter of life and death for your clients, plan ahead so your workers can spend time with their families, or have a well-deserved break, on general holidays. If you absolutely must keep the doors open, ask which members of the team would like to work on the holiday. Some staff members may want to because of the extra holiday pay. You can mandate that an employee works a general holiday, but be mindful that this will not endear you to the staff or boost your team’s morale.

What is holiday pay?

Employees working a general holiday are entitled to holiday pay, which is a special rate for the day in addition to 1.5x their regular wages. However, it’s a bit different for salaried professionals. Managers and other professionals working a general holiday receive their regular salary for the day, but must receive an alternate day off with holiday pay.

The Exception – Continuous Operations

The Canada Labour Code has special provisions for continuous operations. These are operations that simply cannot shut down over a general holiday, such as broadcasting services, transit, airlines, shipping & freight, etc.

Continuous operations have a lot of variables when it comes to general holidays. For example, clerical staff at an airline may be able to take the holiday while the pilots may not.

To learn about how the Canada Labour Code regulates continuous operations, visit

AF Accounting is Here to Help

As an employer, you may find the many ins and out of general holidays confusing when it comes time to do payroll (especially if you have both full time and part time staff). As accounting and bookkeeping experts, AF Accounting is here to help. We will ensure each staff member on your team receives the wages, salary, or alternate holiday they are entitled to, and that your company remains compliant with the standards set out in the Canada Labour Code.

For this and other accounting needs, contact us today.

Are you running a fleet-based business in Quebec? Learn why you need to know all about the IFTA.

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