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Working and statutory holidays

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For most workers, a statutory holiday is basically a paid day off. But some may have to work on a stat holiday. If so, they may be eligible for extra pay, called stat holiday pay.

What you should know

There are two main factors that affect your rights around statutory holidays:

  • whether you’re covered by BC’s Employment Standards Act (the main provincial law that protects workers)
  • your employment contract

A BC law, the Employment Standards Act, sets out rules for statutory holidays that employers must follow. This law applies to “employees” — which covers most but not all workers in the province.

Need help figuring out if employment standards law applies to you? We offer guidance. See our information on who’s covered.

A second factor that comes into play is your employment contract. It may spell out your rights around stat holidays.

(Note there’s always an employment contract between a worker and an employer, even if nothing is in writing.)

Your contract rights may be greater than the protections in employment standards law. But — if employment standards law applies to you — your contract rights cannot be less than the minimum standards the law sets. If they are, you’re still entitled to the minimum protections of the law.

The 10 statutory holidays in BC are:

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

Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Boxing Day, and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation are not stat holidays.

On a stat holiday, workers who are covered by employment standards law are entitled to either:

  • the day off with pay, or
  • extra pay for working on the holiday.

To be eligible for stat holiday pay, you must:

  • have been employed for at least 30 calendar days before the holiday, and
  • have worked or earned wages for 15 of the 30 days before the holiday.

A worker who’s given the day off on a statutory holiday is entitled to an average day’s pay. This is calculated by dividing the total wages earned in the 30 days before the holiday by the number of days worked.

If you’re covered by BC’s employment standards law and you work a stat holiday, you’re entitled to extra pay. You get:

  • an average day’s pay, in addition to your regular daily wage, plus
  • one and a half times your regular wage for any time worked beyond eight hours (up to 12 hours), plus
  • double your regular wage for any time worked over 12 hours.

Work out the problem

There are steps you can take if you run into problems related to a statutory holiday.

Step 1. Discuss the situation with your employer

Step 2. Write your employer a letter

Step 3. Make a complaint

Step 1. Discuss the situation with your employer

Try raising the issue with your employer first. Bring any paperwork that supports your position (for example, your pay stub for the period leading up to the holiday in question).

Approaching your boss can be stressful. We offer tips. See tips for talking with your employer.

Step 2. Write your employer a letter

If talking it over in person doesn’t solve the problem, try writing a letter. Let them know that you understand your rights, and explain your concerns in detail.

We have tips on writing to your employer. See our five tips for writing to your employer.

Step 3. Make a complaint

If you can’t work out a solution with your employer, you can make a formal complaint. Workers covered by employment standards law can file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch.

We explain how to bring your complaint to the branch. See our guidance on making an employment standards complaint.

If you want more on stat holidays, we have in-depth info on this topic. See working and statutory holidays.

Who can help

These agencies may be able to help if you don’t think you’ve been treated fairly regarding a stat holiday.

BC government logo, for use on cards such as Employment Standards Branch
Employment Standards Branch
The government office that deals with complaints against employers in BC.
Call 1-800-663-3316Visit website
Employment and Social Development Canada logo
Employment and Social Development Canada
Deals with complaints against employers in federally-regulated industries.
Call 1-800-641-4049Visit website

Consider getting legal advice if you're struggling to resolve the issue on your own.

Access Pro Bono logo
Lawyer Referral Service
Helps you connect with a lawyer for a free half-hour consult.
Call 1-800-663-1919Visit website
Access Pro Bono logo
Access Pro Bono Clinics
Volunteer lawyers provide free legal advice to people with limited means.
Call 1-877-762-6664Visit website
People's Law School logo, large
People’s Law School
See more options for free or low-cost legal help.
Visit website

  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in November 2021
  • Time to read: 4 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

Legal Content Team, People's Law School

Legal Content Team, People's Law School

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This information from People’s Law School explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. See our disclaimer.

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